I recently wrote to my local MP concerning selling arms to Saudi Arabia. This is her reply:
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Letter back from Caroline Dinenage MP about selling arms to Saudi Arabia:
Thank you for writing to me about the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.
Let me firstly assure you that I fully appreciate your concerns on this issue given the terrible suffering of so many innocent Yemeni civilians. It is right that the international community, including the UK, works together to support a solution to this crisis. As you may know, the UK government supports the Saudi-led campaign to restore the legitimate government in Yemen. President Hadi and the coalition that has been created to support him has the backing of the UN, through resolution 2216.
On the issue of sale of UK arms to Yemen, the Government is clear that it takes seriously its legal obligations as regards the licensing of arms for export to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The UK has one of the most rigorous licensing regimes in the world. Each application is considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the precise nature of the equipment and the identity and track record of the recipient. The Government has consistently said it does not, and will not, issue licences where it judges that the proposed export would provoke or prolong internal conflicts, or where there is a clear risk it might be used to facilitate internal repression or be used aggressively against another country. I have always fully supported this stance.
Saudi Arabia has publicly stated that it is investigating reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law. This is an important process and the UK is fully behind thorough investigations into all allegations of violations of International Law. Finding a political solution to the conflict in Yemen is the best way to bring long-term stability and peace talks are a top priority.
The Government continues to monitor the situation closely, using cross-Departmental resources to seek further information. Additionally, the Government continues to welcome any further information NGOs working on the ground in Yemen can provide.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.