Saudi Plots

Rights criticism of UK for continuing its arm sales to KSA

Amnesty International criticized the UK Government for continuing to sale arms to the Saudi regime, saying that London is ignoring international law.

The international organization described the statement of the International Trade Secretary, Liz Truss, as “cynical”, where she said that the Saudi areal raids on Yemen are “isolated incidents”.

UK sold around £5bn of weapons to Saudi Arabia during the years of war in Yemen adding that the decision is an attempt to ignore international law, the organization said.

“Last year, the Court of appeal ruled that the UK Government’s decision to continue licensing exports of military equipment to Saudi Arabia had been unlawful,” Amnesty said.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director said that London should overhaul its arms control system.

Saudi Arabia has been carrying out are strikes in Yemen for five years, which lead to the killing of civilians in schools, hospitals, markets, and funerals.

Yemen has been witnessing a continued war between the legitimate government forces and the Houthi Group rebels who control several governorates including the capital Sanaa’ since 2014.

Since 2015, an Arab coalition led by the neighboring Saudi Arabia supported the legitimate government against the Iranian-backed Houthis.

More than 8,700 persons were killed, including women and children, and around 10,000 others wounded due to the Arab Coalition’s Air strikes that reached residential areas, according to Yemen Data Project.

Save the Children organization said that more than 85,000 children may have died due to food shortage because of the blockade.

The Independent published a report few days ago that the UK Government apologized to Saudi Arabia after imposing sanctions based on its human rights violations, especially the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The UK government privately showered Saudi Arabia’s government with praise a day after publicly criticising its human rights abuses and targeting it for sanctions,” The Independent said.

London had included some Saudis individuals in a sanctions list the British Foreign Office issued on Monday, all of them are involved in the murder of Khashoggi.

“Defence minister Ben Wallace is understood to have discreetly telephoned his Saudi counterpart on Wednesday to reiterate the UK’s support for the regime and its work.

“The call was not publicised by the British government in the UK, but Saudi Arabia’s state-run news agency used the opportunity to boast about it in a press statement issued on Wednesday.
“‘His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Minister of Defense, received yesterday a phone call from His Excellency British Defence Secretary [sic], Mr Ben Wallace, during which the partnership between the two countries was discussed, especially in the defence field, and the efforts made by the two countries to enhance regional and international security,’ according to a statement on the Saudi Press Agency.

The call comes as Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, announced the lifting of a ban on British arms exports to the oil-rich country.

Layla Moran, a candidate in the ongoing Liberal Democrat leadership contest, told The Independent: “It looks like the UK government took action against Saudi individuals one day, then called to apologise privately the next. This sends completely the wrong message to nations and individuals involved in human rights abuses around the world.”

The British sanctions included 22 Saudi individuals in addition to persons from Russia, Myanmar, and North Korea.

The Independent said that the call contradicts the House of Commons, the foreign secretary speech when he said: “Those with blood on their hands won’t be free … to waltz into this country, to buy up property on the Kings Road, do their Christmas shopping in Knightsbridge, or siphon dirty money through British banks. You cannot set foot in this country, and we will seize your blood-drenched ill-gotten gains if you try.”

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