UK will present resolution at UN for Yemen ceasefire: Envoy

UK will present resolution at UN for Yemen ceasefire: Envoy

Fri Oct 14, 2016 5:43PM

The British ambassador to the United Nations says his country will present a draft resolution demanding the implementation of an immediate ceasefire in Yemen, following a recent Saudi bombing of a funeral that killed over 140 people and injured at least 525 others.

“We have decided to put forward a draft Security Council resolution on Yemen calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities and a resumption of the political process,” Britain’s UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft said in New York on Friday.

The draft text would be circulated around the Council’s 15 members later in the day and a vote will be expected in the next few days.

The move was prompted after Russia used its right of veto to block a British statement condemning the deadly air strike. Moscow denounced the proposal as “wishy-washy”, saying more “serious thinking” was needed to be done before the UN acted in the conflict.

Remnants of munitions found at the site of the Saturday attack showed they were American made, holding Washington responsible for the role of its forces in the unlawful attack.

Washington, along with London, has been a major arms provider to Saudi Arabia, which has been at war against its southern neighbor since March 2015.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly documented Saudi use of US- and UK-manufactured weapons, including cluster munitions, in unlawful attacks in Yemen.

The US continues to sell arms to the Riyadh regime, approving more than $20 billion in military sales in 2015 alone, despite increasing recognition that the kingdom may use the weapons unlawfully.

Three US arms sales in 2015 and 2016, worth nearly $3 billion, involved replenishing Saudi weaponry used in Yemen. Last month, the US Senate endorsed a military deal with Saudi Arabia worth $1.15 billion.

The British government also continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, despite growing evidence of the use of UK-made weapons in Yemen.

According to the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade, the UK has approved £2.8 billion ($4 billion) in military sales to Saudi Arabia since March 2015.

Meanwhile, British lawmakers from a powerful committee also said last month that there was evidence that UK-made weapons have been used in Yemen in violation of international humanitarian law.

“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,” the Committee on Arms Export Control (CAEC) said.

The committee raised serious concerns about the UK’s commitment to international law regarding the sale of arms and stressed that the government must now take urgent action in halting the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

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