The Saudi arms sales

The UK government has decided to reject calls to suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen have destroyed food supplies, schools, hospitals and homes.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 5:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 2:41 pm

The conflict has lead to thousands killed, over 3m fleeing their homes and more than half of the entire Yemeni population is facing starvation.

Export licenses to Saudi Arabia for over £3 billion worth of arms were granted between March 2015 and March 2016 alone.

The Saudi led coalition have been accused of violating international humanitarian law, and the UK government is obligated under both UK and EU law to suspend arms sales to countries accused of such violations.

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Despite this, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s defence of this action is essentially that Saudi Arabia will acquire weaponry in any case and hence it should be the UK that is profiting.

This defence is morally reprehensible and may indeed be illegal.

It is critical that the UK government immediately reconsider its position and suspend the sale of British arms exports to the Saudi Arabian-led coalition.

Angus Calder

Bradley Street, Sheffield, S10