War Continues in Yemen
Saudi-led forces say broken Yemen truce will not be renewed
A two-day ceasefire after nearly two years of war in Yemen expired at midday (0900 GMT) on Monday would not be renewed, a spokesman for a Saudi-led military coalition told Al Arabiya TV, with each side blaming the other for violations. The 48-hour truce, announced unilaterally by the Saudi coalition on Friday, failed to halt fighting across the country between the Iran-aligned Houthis and Saudi-led forces. Residents in the capital Sanaa said that Saudi-led coalition jets had bombed army bases on a mountain overlooking the city earlier on Monday.
The UK government has refused to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia, rejecting calls by two parliamentary committees and human rights groups to cease its multibillion-dollar military exports, which critics claim are fueling the war in Yemen.
Noting that the UK defense industry is
“hugely successful and an important part of our export portfolio,” the Foreign Office said that the Gulf is a “crucial market for defense exports, in particular Saudi Arabia, to which over 30 percent of all UK arms export licenses in 2015 were approved.”
“As we move towards expanding our military presence and relationships in the Gulf, we would expect defense exports to that region to have a key role to play,” four Cabinet ministers stressed in a joint statement.
“The UK government takes its arms export licensing responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world,” the statement read, adding that the government could point to its “robust licensing regime as evidence that its arms export practices are responsible.”
“The government is confident in its robust case-by-case assessment and is satisfied that extant licenses for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK’s export licensing criteria,” the Foreign Office stated, repeating the epithet “robust” at least six times to make its point.
Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemen conflict to restore ousted Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power in March 2015. The intervention has claimed the lives of at least 10,000 people, including almost 4,000 civilians, according to UN data.