Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) has welcomed reports that the Government plans to close down the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO), a unit of the Ministry of Defence whose role is to find sales opportunities for private arms companies. The news follows CAAT's high-profile campaign for DESO's closure. CAAT has called on the Government to confirm the truth of the reports, which appeared in the media this morning.
CAAT spokesperson Symon Hill said:
"DESO uses taxpayers' money to promote private interests, gives arms companies such as BAE unique access to ministers and sells weapons to oppressive regimes including Saudi Arabia, Colombia and Uzbekistan. Today's reports are therefore very welcome to the thousands of people who are campaigning for DESO's closure. It is vital at this juncture that the Government does not give in to bullying by arms companies, but acts speedily to shut down DESO."
1. Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
2. CAAT can provide further information about the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) and the campaign for its closure. CAAT works alongside other groups, notably the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FoR), to campaign for DESO to be shut.
3. Since September 2006, CAAT supporters throughout the UK have lobbied their MPs to call for DESO's closure. On 16th October 2006, campaigners peacefully encircled the DESO offices in central London. On 7th March 2007 the Treasury received a petition signed by over 10,000 people. The petition was organised jointly by CAAT and FoR.
4. It was reported in today's Guardian that the Treasury is planning to close DESO.