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MoD confirms Britain is arming Saudi Arabia in Yemen conflict

RT | June 19, 2015

Britain’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed it is providing technical support and arming Saudi Arabia in its ongoing war against Yemen, RT has learned.

An MoD spokesperson said the UK’s assistance to Saudi Arabia includes providing “precision guided weapons,” but added the British government had been assured they will be used in compliance with international law.

Anti-arms trade campaigners condemned Britain’s support for the Gulf monarchy, claiming the UK cares more about arms sales than human rights and democracy.

RT contacted the MoD to ask if British weapons are being used in Saudi airstrikes on Yemen and if the UK is providing assistance to the Saudi-led coalition.

An MoD spokesperson replied: “The UK is not participating directly in Saudi military operations. We are providing support to the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces and as part of pre-existing arrangements are providing precision guided weapons to assist the Saudi Air Force.

“The use of these weapons is a matter for the Saudis but we are assured that they will be used in compliance with international law.”

The MoD’s response confirms suspicions held by anti-arms trade campaigners that Britain is providing support for a war that top Yemeni academics based in the West have branded “illegal.”

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said: “The Saudi bombing has created a humanitarian catastrophe and now we know the UK weapons have contributed to it.”

“These weapons have not just given military support to the bombardment, they have also provided a strong political support and underlined the closeness between the UK and Saudi governments.”

“With the destruction of Yemen and the intensifying crackdown on dissent in Saudi Arabia, the UK government is sending the message that human rights and democracy are less important than arms sales,” he added.

CAAT said the “precision guided weapons” used by the Saudi Air Force are likely to be Eurofighter Typhoons or Tornado jets.

Saudi Arabia has spent an estimated £2.5 billion upgrading its fleet of 73 Tornados as part of a deal negotiated with UK-based arms manufacturers BAE Systems.

Saudi Arabia and the UK have long had close dealings in the arms trade. Saudi Arabia is Britain’s largest customer for weapons and the UK is the Gulf nation’s single biggest supplier, according to CAAT. … Full article

 

June 19, 2015 - Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , ,

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