‘Arms sales must end’

Calls on the UK to stop sell­ing weapons to Saudi Ara­bia are grow­ing louder as US plans to do the same are be­ing blocked

CityPress - - News -

troops backed by the United Arab Emi­rates in Ye­men.

“All of those al­le­ga­tions have to be in­ves­ti­gated and the ev­i­dence has to come for­ward,” said Cor­byn.

“And arms sales pol­icy has to re­flect that we do not be­lieve those coun­tries that com­mit abuses of hu­man rights or kill civil­ians with the use of those weapons should con­tinue to re­ceive Bri­tish arms.”

Last week, rights groups and ac­tivists called on the UK to end arms sales to Saudi Ara­bia and its al­lies, warn­ing that con­tin­u­ing to do so may be a vi­o­la­tion of in­ter­na­tional law.

In the US, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s plans to sell bil­lions of dol­lars worth of weapons to Saudi Ara­bia could face an up­hill bat­tle af­ter the Se­nate raised ques­tions about the deal.

This week, the Se­nate for­eign re­la­tions com­mit­tee wrote to Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son, say­ing it would not clear any arms sales to the six-coun­try Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil (GCC) un­til it was con­fi­dent that the coun­cil and Trump’s team were work­ing to en­gage Qatar, a GCC mem­ber and the host of the largest US mil­i­tary base in the Mid­dle East.

Saudi Ara­bia, the United Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar on June 5 over its al­leged sup­port for terror and ties to Iran.

In the let­ter he wrote to Tiller­son on Mon­day, Se­na­tor Bob Corker said: “I could not have been more pleased with the pres­i­dent’s re­cent trip to Saudi Ara­bia. The unity of the Gulf States and their com­mit­ment to se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion were wel­come steps for­ward.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the GCC did not take ad­van­tage of the sum­mit and in­stead chose to de­volve into con­flict. All coun­tries in the re­gion need to do more to com­bat ter­ror­ism, but re­cent dis­putes among the GCC coun­tries only serve to hurt ef­forts to fight the Is­lamic State and counter Iran.”

Corker’s com­mit­tee and its coun­ter­part in the lower cham­ber, the House for­eign af­fairs com­mit­tee, have the abil­ity to re­view arms deals once the ex­ec­u­tive branch of­fi­cially pro­poses them. Corker’s ap­proval is needed for sales to go for­ward.

– Al Jazeera and Huff­in­g­ton Post

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