Thatcher made secrecy pact with Saudi king over corrupt arms deal

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Margaret Thatcher promised Saudi Arabia secrecy ahead of a £43 billion arms deal thought to have been blighted by corruption, newly-released documents reveal.

The papers uncover correspondence between Saudi and British public figures and officials involved in the Yamamah deal brokered during the mid-1980s. As part of this clandestine arrangement, now-deceased Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government wanted Saudi Arabia to purchase Tornado and Hawk jets.

Many state documents relating to this era have been withheld or redacted, reportedly to avoid embarrassment.

In a letter from January 2, 1985, Thatcher apologized to Saudi ruler King Fahd for criticism which had appeared in the British press, saying she was happy that “relations between the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia are warm and friendly.

I attach the very highest importance to maintaining and improving them, and I am convinced that the possibilities for cooperation between our two governments and…

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