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Britain suspends Myanmar training; Britain, Saudi Arabia sign military deal
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Sept 19, 2017


Britain, Saudi Arabia sign military cooperation deal
Riyadh (AFP) Sept 20, 2017 - Saudi Arabia and Britain signed a framework deal for military cooperation, Saudi state media said Tuesday, just two days after Gulf rival Qatar signed a deal to buy jet fighters from the European nation.

The agreement came after Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed security ties with visiting British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, the Saudi Press Agency said without disclosing details of the agreement.

"During the meeting, they reviewed bilateral relations particularly the mechanism... joint coordination in the field of defense. They also discussed... efforts to combat terrorism," SPA said.

The agreement comes as Britain seeks to explore lucrative trade deals outside Europe, including energy-rich Gulf monarchies, after voting to leave the European Union.

Qatar on Sunday signed an agreement to buy 24 Typhoon fighter jets from Britain, a second major defence deal signed by Doha during its prolonged diplomatic dispute with its neighbours.

Regional kingpin Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt cut ties with Qatar in June, accusing it of backing extremism and fostering ties with their Shiite rival Iran.

Qatar denies the charges, claiming the dispute is an attack on its sovereignty. Britain and other Western powers have urged Arab states to end their Qatar boycott, but analysts say the crisis shows no sign of ending.

Britain said Tuesday it had suspended its educational training courses for the Myanmar military due to the ethnic violence in Rakhine state.

London said it had "deep concern" about human rights abuses and would not be resuming the military courses unless there was an "acceptable resolution" to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.

Communal violence has torn through Myanmar's western Rakhine state since Muslim minority Rohingya militants staged deadly attacks on police posts on August 25.

An army-led fightback has left scores dead and sent more than 420,000 Rohingya fleeing the mainly Buddhist country into neighbouring Bangladesh.

"The action the military are taking against the Rohingya people needs to stop," British Prime Minister Theresa May told the UK's Sky News in New York.

"There will be no further defence engagement or training of the Burmese military by the Ministry of Defence until there's a resolution of this issue."

In London, a government spokesman said in a statement: "In light of the ongoing violence in Burma's Rakhine state, the growing humanitarian crisis it has caused, and our deep concern about the human rights abuses that are taking place, we have decided to suspend the educational courses provided to the Burmese military until there is an acceptable resolution to the current situation.

"We call on the Burmese armed forces to take immediate steps to stop the violence in Rakhine and ensure the protection of all civilians, to allow full access for humanitarian aid and to facilitate the civilian government's implementation of the Rakhine Advisory Commission's recommendations in full."

The year-long commission, led by former United Nations chief Kofi Annan, tasked with healing divisions between the Rohingya and local Buddhists, urged immediate action to heal the divide.

- Training a 'catastrophic misjudgement' -

Britain's junior foreign minister Mark Field has said the UK armed forces provided vocational courses, focused on language training, governance, accountability, ethics, human rights and international law to the Myanmar military.

"Exposing them to how modern militaries operate in a democracy is more effective than isolating them," he told parliament on September 5.

Britain did not provide combat training, Field said.

"The UK is, and will remain, a very strong supporter of continuing the EU arms embargo" on Myanmar, he added.

Some 150 members of parliament wrote to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on September 6 calling for the training programme to be suspended.

Burma Campaign UK, which has been calling for an end to the training programme ever since it started in 2013, said it was "incredible" that the halt had taken so long to reach.

"Ending this training should have been a no-brainer, not something to dither over for three weeks while ethnic cleansing happens," said the group's director Mark Farmaner.

He called the training a "catastrophic misjudgement."

"A major rethink on policy is now needed and a return to putting human rights first," he said.

MILPLEX
L3 Technologies acquires Adaptive Methods Inc.
Washington (UPI) Sep 12, 2017
L3 Technologies has expanded its presence in the undersea products market with the acquisition of Adaptive Methods Inc., a systems engineering firm. Under the acquisition announced Tuesday, Adaptive Methods will be called L3 Adaptive Methods, integrated into L3's Sensor Systems business segment. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Adaptive Methods is ... read more

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