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Vigil at war conference

27 June 2014

MILITARY personnel who entered Church House, Westminster, on Tuesday for a conference passed campaigners questioning the ethics of hosting them. The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) Land Warfare Conference is an annual event held on behalf of the Chief of the General Staff.

The theme was "what history can teach us about the British way of war, considering what insights this offers us about the present and in shaping the future for land forces". The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, was one of the speakers.

Campaigners argue that Church House conference centre should not host the event, because it is sponsored by arms companies. On Tuesday, Symon Hill, who attended the prayer vigil, said: "I do respect the argument that violence is sometimes justified, but even those with that view would still have a problem with Church House hosting an event by companies that sell weapons to oppressive regimes."

A C of E spokesman said on Monday that the event was not an arms fair or conference. "The RUSI is a long-established and respected independent think tank. As a research body and policy forum, it provides independent thinking and objective analysis on issues relating primarily to security and defence."

In July, as in 2012, Church House is due to host the Chief of the Air Staff's Air Power Conference.

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