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MPs urge UK to stop selling arms to Saudis amid Yemen war

7 September 2016 14:27



A group of MPs has called on the UK government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia because of its war crimes in neighboring Yemen, according to a leaked draft report.

“The weight of evidence of violations of international humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen is now so great that it is very difficult to continue to support Saudi Arabia while maintaining the credibility of our arms licensing regime,” the Commons Committees on Arms Export Controls said in a draft report.

“The weight of evidence is now so great that the UK should suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen until an independent and international inquiry can establish the truth.”

The British government has said that it was ensuring Riyadh was not breaking humanitarian laws by bombing civilian targets in Yemen.

Yemeni doctors treat a man who was wounded during Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in the northern Yemeni governorate of Sa’ada more than a week earlier, at a hospital in the capital Sana’a on August 21, 2016. (AFP)

On Monday, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson defended the arms sale, insisting that it would continue.

The weapons sales continued after the Saudi brutal bombing campaign of Yemen began in March 2015, which has so far killed nearly 10,000 people, including over 2,000 children.

The draft report said it “seems inevitable that any violations of international law by the Saudi-led coalition would involve arms supplied by the UK.”

“While doubt and uncertainty about IHL compliance in Yemen exists, the default position of the UK should not to be to continue to sell weapons,” it added.

London supplied export licenses for over $4 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia last year.

The largest export license granted was worth $2.48 billion of fighter jets agreed in May 2015.

The UK also approved the export of $1.45 billion of air-to-air missiles to the Saudi regime in July 2015.

In September, it further approved the sale of $90.5 million worth of bombs to Riyadh.

The British government has also been accused of being involved in guiding the Saudi military aggression in Yemen.

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