Saturday, 31 December 2016 08:35

ALEX SALMOND MP CALLS ON UK GOVERNMENT TO ADOPT “ETHICAL AND EFFECTIVE” FOREIGN POLICY IN NEW YEAR

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SNP SAY NEW YEAR MUST HERALD IN NEW POLICY APPROACH AND MOVE AWAY FROM “KNEE-JERK MILITARISM”

SNP International Affairs Spokesperson, Alex Salmond MP, has called on the UK government to abandon its obsession for military intervention and arms sales and instead adopt an “ethical and effective” foreign policy approach in the New Year.

The comments follow a bloody end to the year with conflicts in Syria and Yemen continuing to rage and engulf the region, resulting in humanitarian disasters and a refugee crisis in both countries. The UK government has played a military role in both conflicts, providing arms to the Saudi regime, advising on military targets in Yemen and participating in coalition airstrikes in Syria.

The SNP have consistently opposed the selling of arms to Saudi Arabia amid evidence of indiscriminate strikes resulting in civilian casualties and have called for an independent inquiry into any breaches of humanitarian law. Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh MP hounded the government into a proper investigation after exposing attempts to sweep the issue under the Whitehall carpet.

The party has condemned the UK government outright for its "shamefully-stained Saudi" relationship after reports emerged that outlawed UK-made cluster bombs have been used on targets in Yemen.

All SNP MPs voted against air strikes in Syria in the House of Commons, demanding that the UK government establishes an effective plan to defeat Daesh and puts humanitarian assistance to the forefront of the UK’s wider strategy.

Alex Salmond MP, the SNP’s International Affairs spokesperson, said:

“The New Year is not one of celebration for many people in countries like Syria and Yemen where the horrors of 2016 will continue into 2017.

“For the UK government, the New Year should be one of recognising and correcting the errors in their foreign policy approach and one where they adopt a more ethical and effective approach that abandons military obsession and instead puts humanitarian and political efforts at its core. After all we know that the Foreign Secretary actually personally believes that our allies are engaged in proxy wars.

“You cannot arm regimes with stained military tactics with one hand and then raise the other to proclaim the need to uphold human rights. The lessons are clear for all in the last year, from the lessons of Libya to Yemen and Syria. The SNP have consistently called for a wider strategy rather than knee-jerk militarism and we will continue to hold the Tory government to account on these crucial issues.”

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