Jeremy Corbyn reiterates call for UK to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian forces are killing civilians in Yemen

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
Saturday 01 July 2017 15:49 BST
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Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader
Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader (Reuters )

Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his call for the Government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

In an interview with the Al Jazeera English news channel the Labour leader branded the autocratic petro-state’s military operation in the country an “invasion”.

“We have constantly condemned the use of these weapons by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, and called for the suspension of the arms sales to Saudi Arabia to show that we are wanting a peace process in Yemen, not an invasion by Saudi Arabia,” he told the channel.

Saudi Arabia is intervening on behalf of Yemen’s internationally recognised Government, which does not control the capital and has lost vast swathes of territory to Shia-aligned Houthi fighters.

But the Saudi-led coalition has been blamed by the United Nations for causing the vast majority of civilian casualties in the conflict, including reports of the bombings of schools, international hospitals, and wedding parties.

The country is also on the verge of starvation with almost on the verge of famine as of the most recent reports. Saudi forces have been accused of bombing food factories and infrastructure.

Britain continues to sell arms – including bombs and missiles – to the autocratic monarchy despite calls by from international bodies and British parliamentary committees to stop supplying the regime.

Labour's 2017 election manifesto pledged to stop such arms sales, a policy first revealed by The Independent before the document's official publication.

A court challenge to block the sales is currently pending after months of deliberation. Documents made public in the trial show the civil servant in charge of the Government’s export control organisation recommended that sales be suspended.

But Theresa May and Boris Johnson have repeatedly backed the Saudi regime and said that remaining close to it is good for the UK’s security.

The Government says Britain has among the most strict arms export control criteria in the world.

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