23 OCT 2018
Thank you very much for taking the time to email me.
I read your comments with interest and understand you are deeply concerned about the situation in Yemen. I particularly have concerns about the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia by the UK and the use of those arms against their own citizens as well as their conflict with Yemen. It is often said that government can go further in applying pressure for genuine reform by cooperating with the Saudi regime but the extent of human rights abuses in the Kingdom calls for a far stronger approach and an end arms sales.
The government position on this matter is as below:
The Government fully recognises the severity of the unfolding humanitarian crisis. The UK is leading the global response to this crisis in Yemen, as the fourth largest humanitarian donor to the country. The UK recently announced an additional £170 million for Yemen, to cover the 2018/19 financial year. This funding is in addition to the over £400 million of bilateral support from the UK since the conflict began in 2015 and will provide food to 2.5 million Yemeni people.
Britain has taken the lead in lobbying across the international community for urgent and unobstructed access for humanitarian assistance into Yemen. The Government continues to call for the modalities for a ceasefire to be agreed. You may be interested to know that the UK proposed and co-ordinated the UN Security Council Presidential Statement earlier this year, which repeated the call for unhindered humanitarian access.
The UK continues to work hard in order to achieve stability in the region. The Houthi insurgency overthrew a legitimate, United Nations backed Government in Yemen. The insurgency has cruelly executed a number of people including the former President of Yemen and prevented humanitarian aid reaching those most in need. The legitimate Government of Yemen requested the support of its neighbours and allies, including the UK and Saudi Arabia, to help tackle the rebel insurgency.
With regards to the recent UK visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Saudi Arabia, the Government is working with Saudi Arabia to address regional and international issues, including addressing the need for a political resolution to the conflict in Yemen.
It is important for the UK to engage with Saudi Arabia in order to encourage change. During a visit to Saudi Arabia at the end of last year, the Prime Minister made clear to the Crown Prince that the port of Hodeidah needed to be reopened for humanitarian and commercial supplies. Saudi Arabia then reopened the port, which shows the value and importance of engagement.
Lastly, on the topic of Jamal Khashoggi I have already publically asked how Britain can expect international support condemning state sponsored murder on our soil unless we stand up against the disgusting state sponsored torture and murder of Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia.
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