Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
The humanitarian crisis that is happening in Yemen is deeply troubling and many of my Labour colleagues and I have expressed our concerns about the potential violations of international humanitarian law. The UK should not be selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, since they have and will be used in this ongoing conflict which has impacted so many Yemeni civilians.
I was pleased to see the Court of Appeals judgement on 20th June that UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia were unlawful and that Government intended to comply with this ruling. I was appalled, however, to hear that this court order had been breached and that Liz Truss, the Secretary of State for International Trade, was not aware at the time that additional licenses had been granted.
As I have said in the past, there is no military solution to this conflict and there must be a peaceful negotiated resolution. I am pleased to hear from the United Nations envoy to Yemen that the Houthis appear to have proposed “in good faith” to halt all attacks on Saudi Arabia and that this, in his own words, “could send a powerful message of the will to end the war”. I hope the Government will therefore take this opportunity in brokering a ceasefire, and a political settlement, for the whole country.
The people of Yemen have suffered so much throughout this conflict and resolving it could not be more urgent. A political settlement is vital for the peace, security and stability of Yemen and the health and well-being of the Yemeni people. I believe the Government must use all its influence to play its part in bringing this about.