Tory Government Defends Saudi Arabia Arms Deal While Other Countries Are Stopping It

On Tuesday, British MPs clashed with Middle East minister Alistair Burt in parliament over its handling of arms sales to Saudi Arabia during Yemen’s civil war. The arguments took place during an emergency debate called by opposition MPs to discuss the situation in Yemen.

According to the United Nations’ report, more than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the intervention by the Saudi-led coalition in the country’s civil war in March 2015, and more than 85,000 people have been displaced this year alone in what has become the “world’s largest humanitarian crisis”.

Despite all the disastrous figures, Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt defended Britain’s stance on UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia and said that “there was no simple answer to the war in Yemen”.

“There is no reason to not support an ally (Saudi Arabia) under fire from missiles, we have done all we can to express the concern raised by the house,” Burt told the opposition MPs.

Alistair Burt also added that “the British government believes that Saudi Arabia has not breached international law during the conflict.”

In an impassioned speech, SNP MP Alison Thewliss lambasted the British government for not doing enough to help Yemeni children.

She then condemned Saudi and Emirati actions in Yemen:

“In this three-hour debate, 18 children will have died. Imagine them lined up in front of this green bench. How many more?

“The children dying in Yemen could sadly fill this chamber in no time at all.”

The debate in parliament happened a month after Spain cancelled weapons sales to the oil-rich Persian Gulf kingdom, over its role in the Yemen War.

According to the Spanish Defence Ministry, the country has cancelled the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia over concerns they could be used to target civilians in the Yemeni war.

Spain’s decision follows similar moves by Sweden, Germany, Finland, Norway and Belgium to suspend the sale of arms that could be used in the Yemeni war.

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