20-06-2021 04:15 AM Jerusalem Timing

Hammond: Arms Export to Saudis Will Stop if Used in Breach of Int’l Law in Yemen

Hammond: Arms Export to Saudis Will Stop if Used in Breach of Int’l Law in Yemen

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Tuesday there must be "proper investigations" that arms sold to Saudi Arabia have not been used in breach of international law in Yemen.

British Foreign Secretary Philip HammondBritish Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said Tuesday there must be "proper investigations" that arms sold to Saudi Arabia have not been used in breach of international law in Yemen.

The Foreign Secretary said reassurances by Riyadh were not sufficient alone to prevent the possible suspension of future exports if it was shown the terms of the licenses had been defied.

Amnesty International has called for a suspension of all sales of weaponry to the Gulf State because of a mounting civilian death toll in a Saudi-led coalition's assault against Yemen launched more than seven months ago.

It says the UK could be "party to terrible war crimes".

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn singled out the use of UK weapons in the Yemen campaign as a consequence of "fawning and uncritical support to regimes ... who abuse their own citizens and repress democratic rights".

Hammond confirmed that exported British arms were being deployed by the Saudis but said that could be legitimate.

"Those weapons, some of them, are being used in Yemen. The important thing is that they are being used legally in an international armed conflict," he told BBC2's Newsnight.

"There have been accusations of breaches of international humanitarian law. We regularly intervene with the Saudis to encourage them to be transparent with us," he said.

"I was in Saudi Arabia a couple of weeks ago and we discussed precisely this issue. The Saudis deny that there have been any breaches of international humanitarian law," Hammond added, despite the countless media reports that revealed the brutality of Saudi-US aggression on Yemen targeting civilians and vital infrastructure.

"Obviously that denial alone is not enough; we need to see proper investigations and we need to work with the Saudis to establish that international humanitarian law has been complied with," he said, adding that, "We have an export licensing system that responds if we find that it is not. We will then find that we cannot license additional shipments of weapons."

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen for 230 days now to restore power to fugitive President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi-US aggression has so far killed at least 6,579 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Despite Riyadh’s claims that it is bombing the positions of the Yemeni national military, Saudi warplanes are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.