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British FM Dominic Raab Urged to End Saudi Arabia Arms Sales During Visit to Riyadh

Dominic Raab has been urged to insist Saudi Arabia fixes its “abysmal human rights record” and to ban arm sales from the UK as he embarks on his first official visit to the Gulf state.

Campaigners called on the foreign secretary to call for an end to the ongoing conflict in Yemen and implement an immediate embargo on sales of British arms to Riyadh amid a deepening humanitarian crisis.

Mr Raab is expected to hold talks on the conflict with Saudi leaders during his two-day visit, where he will also meet Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Hadi.

It comes after international outrage over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents as well as the imprisonment of human rights activists.

The Foreign Office said he would raise issues where there were “differences” between the UK and Saudi Arabia “including on human rights and values” during meetings with senior figures, including Saudi foreign minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and national security adviser Dr Musaad Al Aiyban.

But campaigners said the foreign secretary lacked “moral authority” until the UK ends all arms sales to the Saudi administration, which is supporting the Yemeni government in its conflict with the Iran-backed Houthis.

Andrew Smith, of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), said: “Dominic Raab has said he will raise the crisis in Yemen, but talk is not enough. It is a crisis that has been fueled and exacerbated by UK arms sales.

“Neither Raab nor his colleagues can have any moral authority while they continue to arm and support the brutal Saudi dictatorship and its allies. These arms sales are immoral, and, as the Court of Appeal confirmed last year, they are also illegal.”

 

Read the full article by Lizzy Buchan on The Independent, March 4, 2020