Feb 23, 2021 05:55 UTC
  • British arms sales to Saudi Arabia prolonging war in Yemen: Oxfam

An international charity organization has rebuked the British government for allowing the export of air-to-air refueling equipment to Saudi Arabia, warning that the gear could prolong the Yemen war as it would be used to help the Saudi air force conduct indiscriminate bombing attacks in the Arab country.

Oxfam said that the technology was licensed to the Riyadh regime last summer when arms restrictions were lifted, and London approved an additional £1.4 billion ($1.96 billion) sale of other weapons, British daily newspaper the Guardian reported on Monday.

“As the US has called for an end to the conflict in Yemen, the UK is heading in the opposite direction, ramping up its support for the brutal Saudi-led war by increasing arms sales and refueling equipment that facilitate airstrikes,” Sam Nadel, head of policy and advocacy at Oxfam, said.

On February 4, President Joe Biden announced an end to the United States support for Saudi-led military offensive operations in Yemen.

However, a senior Yemeni official cast doubt on the purported intention of the new US administration, demanding that the Yemeni nation put up resistance in the face of the Saudi-led aggression and siege.

“The United States is seeking to lessen international hatred towards itself at the same time as building up pressure on Yemeni people through a blockade. The Yemeni nation is fairly familiar with such a ploy and trusts in God,” Yemeni Information Minister Dhaifallah al-Shami said.

Late last month, Italy decided to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have been waging a devastating war on impoverished Yemen for years.  

“Today I am announcing that the government has revoked the authorizations under way for the export of missiles and aircraft bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates," Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said.

He added, “[This is] an act that we considered due, a clear message of peace coming from our country. For us, respect for human rights is an unbreakable commitment.”

Italy’s Peace and Disarmament Network, a campaign group, hailed the move as “historic” and said the move would stop the supply of at least 12,700 bombs.