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Blair resists keeps multimillion Saudi deal following Khashoggi murder

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tony blair
Tony
Blair.

Paul Morigi/Getty Images for
Concordia Summit


  • Exclusive: Tony Blair urged to scrap
    his multimillion-dollar deal with Saudi Arabia following
    the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
  • The former UK prime minister’s Global Change
    organisation has signed a deal with the desert kingdom to help
    modernise and “support the change programme” in the
    country.
  • The former Labour leader is refusing to suspend the
    deal despite Saudi Arabia’s role in the death of Khashoggi
    and continued war in Yemen.
  • Blair said earlier this month that the Saudis
    had “issued a very strong denial” of their
    responsibility. 
  • Labour MP Lloyd Russell Moyle said Blair would be
    “complicit in war crimes and murder” of Saudi Arabia if he
    didn’t terminate the deal. 

 

LONDON — Tony Blair has been accused of being
“complicit” in crimes committed by the Saudi government, after
resisting calls to cut his ties to the country following the
murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It was revealed earlier this
year
that the former UK prime minister’s Institute for Global
Change had signed a multimillion-dollar deal with the Saudi
government in order to “support the change programme” in the
country.

However, the murder of Khashoggi in the Turkish embassy earlier
this month, plus Saudi Arabia’s ongoing war in Yemen, have led to
calls for Blair to axe all ties to the Saudi regime.

Asked whether Blair would continue to work with the Saudi regime
following Khashoggi’s murder, a spokesperson for the institute
told Business Insider: “We have nothing further to add to what Mr
Blair has said previously.”

Asked about Khashoggi’s death earlier this month, Blair told
Reuters that it was “extremely troubling” and risked undermining
the “process of modernisation” in the country but noted that the
Saudis had “issued a very strong denial” of their responsibility.

A source close to Blair told BI that the institute is “following
events closely” in the country.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on Western leaders to cut
ties with Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s killing.

“The issues that have come to light of the death in Istanbul of a
Saudi national who was visiting the embassy call into question
the close relationship with Saudi Arabia of so many Western
countries,” Corbyn told CNN.

One ally of Corbyn told BI that Blair’s reluctance to cut his
ties to the regime was “absolutely immoral” and made him
“complicit in war crimes,” committed by the Saudis in Yemen.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Lloyd Russell Moyle told BI that Blair’s
reluctance to cut his ties to the regime was “absolutely immoral”
and made him “complicit in war crimes,” committed by the Saudis
in Yemen.

“If Mr Blair doesn’t see the light and continues to accept money
from the Saudis then I think his moral integrity is in ruins,”
the MP for Brighton Kemptown told BI.

He added: “Our own government is reviewing their relationship
with Saudi Arabia and if others are not doing the same then they
are complicit in war crimes and murder.”


Tony BlairWPA
Pool/Getty

In a statement published in September, the institute said that
“Tony Blair believes that [Saudi Arabia’s] modernisation
programme is the single most important development in the Middle
East in terms of governance and will be vital for peace,” in the
region.

However, Russell-Moyle said Blair’s belief that the Saudi regime
was modernising was “delusional” and said the former Labour
leader’s continued involvement in the Middle East was now a
“danger” to peace in the region.

“I can’t think of one good thing he has done in the Middle East
and it would be better for the world if he stayed out of the
region because he is a danger in that area,” he said.

In a statement to BI, a spokesperson for the Tony Blair Institute
for Global Change said: “TBI is a not for profit organisation and
all the money received goes to support this work.

“Tony Blair receives no personal remuneration from the
Institute.”

They added: “Donations made to the Institute are used to fund our
partnerships with 14 African governments where we work to deliver
better living standards and job opportunities for their people
and the Middle East, where we promote religious co-existence,
modernisation and reform and support a regional solution to the
peace process.”

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