British premier defends selling arms to Saudi Arabia, citing anti-terrorism efforts

British premier defends selling arms to Saudi Arabia, citing anti-terrorism efforts

Wed Sep 7, 2016 11:19PM

British Prime Minister Theresa May defends selling arms to Saudi Arabia, which faced accusations of resorting to war crimes in Yemen.

May defended Saudi’s use of British weapons after a parliamentary committee tasked with evaluating arms exports said it was likely that British weapons were used in violation of international law.

May insisted that the UK’s close ties with the kingdom is more important.

    “Actually, what matters is the strength of our relationship with Saudi Arabia. When it comes to counter-terrorism and dealing with terrorism, it is that relationship that has helped to keep people on the streets of Britain safe.”

Opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on May to halt the arms sales because of the “humanitarian devastation” caused by the aggressive war on Yemen.

The Saudis stand accused of bombing multiple international hospitals run by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières, as well as schools, wedding parties and food factories.

Britain is now the second biggest arms dealer in the world and since 2010, two-thirds of weapons have gone to the Middle East, the Independent has revealed.

In a leaked draft report, the Committee on Arms Exports Control echoed both the European Parliament and the Commons International Development Select Committee in calling for arms sales to the autocracy to end.

“The weight of evidence of violations of international humanitarian law by the Saudi-led coalition is now so great, that it is very difficult to continue to support Saudi Arabia,” it read, as quoted by the state-funded BBC.

Back in June, the United Nations put Saudi Arabia on a blacklist of countries that kill and maim children. It concludes that Riyadh was responsible for 60 percent of the 785 deaths of children in the war in 2015. A few days later, however, the world body announced that Saudi Arabia would be taken off the list pending a joint review with moanarchy.

Britain signed off a contract worth £3.3 billion of arms exports to Saudi Arabia in the first year of the country’s bombardment of Yemen, which included drones, helicopters, and other aircraft.

Saudi Arabia has been incessantly pounding Yemen since March 2015, with the UN putting the death toll from the military aggression at about 10,000.

Leave a Reply