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UK to resume Saudi arms exports despite Yemen war concerns

The United Kingdom will resume weapons sales to Saudi Arabia despite international concerns that weapons will be used in the war in Yemen.

Campaigners against the arms trade slammed the ‘morally indefensible’ decision by the UK government to resume weapon sales to the kingdom.

UK International Trade Secretary Liz Truss told Parliament on Tuesday that a government assessment suggested, “There is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law”.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s Ministry of Human Rights said on Thursday (2 July) announced that the Saudi fighter jets have dropped cluster bombs on Yemen in series of attacks on Sanaa the capital, and the provinces of Marib, al-Jouf, al-Bayda, Hajjah, and Saada northern Yemen.

Opposition legislators and campaigners against the arms trade to Saudi Arabia slammed the “morally indefensible” decision by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

According to the Al-Masirah news network on July 7, Saudi jet fighters have targeted the Al Majzaz and Al Madqal cities 41 times in the past 24 hours and Al Abdiyah district in Ma’rib Governorate nine times.

Meanwhile, Saudi-American fighters on Sunday bombed areas in Marb, Al-Jawf, Hajjah, Saada, and al-Bayda provinces.

A court ruling last year ordered that the UK’s licensing of arms sales to Saudi Arabia was unlawful after proper assessment of humanitarian risks.

The legal action against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), which wants to end the global arms trade and argued that British weapons were likely to have been used in Yemen in violation of human rights law.

“This is a disgraceful and morally bankrupt decision. The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made arms have played a central role in the bombing,” said the group’s Andrew Smith of CAAT.

Saudi Arabia and UAE launched a devastating campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing Ansarullah.

The war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

The UN says over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including 10 million suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

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