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UK PM to demand Saudi Arabia end Yemen blockade

November 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a statement outside number 10 Downing Street in London, UK on 4 June 2017 [Isabel Infantes/Anadolu Agency]

British Prime Minister Theresa May will challenge Saudi Arabia over its blockade of Yemen during her three-day trip to the Middle East which began yesterday, the Guardian reported.

May landed in Saudi Arabia today and will be meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to discuss Yemen. Saudi Arabia levied an air, land and sea blockade on war-torn Yemen after a ballistic missile was fired towards its capital, Riyadh, by the Houthi group in early November. Three weeks on, Saudi Arabia permitted the shipment of 25,000 tonnes of wheat and medical supplies through the ports of Saleef this week.

But the UK has licensed $4.6 billion worth of arms sales to the Saudi regime which has been executing a brutal bombing campaign against Yemenis since March 2015.

For almost three years, the Saudi regime has waged a terrible war on Yemen. UK arms sales and support have underpinned the bombardment every step of the way.

“Theresa May is right to raise the issue of the devastating blockade, but the best thing she can do for the people of Yemen is to end the arms sales. How many more will die before May and her colleagues finally stop putting arms company profits ahead of Yemeni lives?” Andrew Smith, media coordinator at Campaign Against Arms Trade said.

“The Saudi dictatorship has one of the worst human rights records in the entire world. It has suppressed and abused the Saudi population for decades, and now it is inflicting an awful humanitarian crisis on the people of Yemen. The blockade has only made a dire situation worse. It doesn’t just need to be tweaked or altered, it needs to be lifted altogether so that aid can reach the millions that need it,” Smith continued.

In July, the British High Court ruled that the UK Government can continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia despite allegations that this was a violation of international law due to the arms being used to strike civilians in Yemen.

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