Wednesday, 25 May 2016 12:29

SNP: UK must halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia

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The SNP has today called on the UK government to launch an “urgent investigation” into the discovery of a partially-exploded UK-manufactured cluster bomb in a village in northern Yemen.

SNP MP Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh raised the issue in the House of Commons today by asking an urgent question after Amnesty International discovered the UK-supplied BL-755 cluster bomb – which was originally manufactured in the UK in the 1970s.
Amnesty International has written to the Prime Minister calling for an urgent investigation into the discovery which they claim is “clear evidence” that members of the Saudi-Arabia-led military coalition have used British cluster munitions in their highly controversial attacks in Yemen.
The SNP has previously raised the UK’s involvement in the war in Yemen on several occasions with SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson MP raising the issue at PMQs in January when he said civilians were being killed in Yemen including by the Saudi air force, using British-built planes, with pilots trained by British instructors and bombs “co-ordinated with the help of British advisers”, suggesting the UK was already effectively involved in a war in Yemen.
Tamina Ahmed-Sheikh MP said:
“We must have absolute transparency when it comes to the UK’s involvement in the war in Yemen – the public have the right to know if British-built bombs are being used in the conflict and it is right that a full, independent investigation into the discovery of this cluster bomb now takes place.

“With the world’s attention on conflict in the Middle East has been focussed on Syria and Iraq in recent years and sadly, the catastrophic war in Yemen has been largely overlooked even though it too is claiming many lives and causing millions of people to flee their homes and become refugees.

“In February, the European parliament voted by a large majority for an EU-wide ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UK government must keep its commitment to the EU in the face of these tragic circumstances.
“And under a 2008 code of conduct, EU member states promised not to sell weapons to countries where they might be used “to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law” and undermine regional peace and stability.
“The UK government has shown continued inaction in this vital matter which has led to the deaths of Yemeni men, women and children from the continued use of British bombs – UK ministers must apologise immediately and halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia.”