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FOREIGN Secretary Jeremy Hunt met the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia today in the first diplomatic meeting of its kind since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr Hunt was accompanied by a “special envoy” of Prime Minister Theresa May in the meeting with the country's ruler King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
However, campaign groups point out that the question of Britain’s arms sales to the tyrannical regime is not on the meeting’s agenda.
Ms May has rejected all calls for a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite its attacks on neighbouring Yemen, where tens of thousands of civilians have been slaughtered, and 14 million people face famine.
The crown prince has been linked to the murder in Turkey of Mr Khashoggi and is believed to be the driving force behind Saudi Arabia’s brutal war on Yemen, using weapons supplied by Britain and the United States.
Sam Perlo-Freeman of the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said: “The UK government claims to be putting pressure on Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.
“So far there is little sign of it. British Aerospace Systems, along with the Ministry of Defence, are still servicing the Saudi planes that are bombing Yemen daily, inflicting a horrific humanitarian catastrophe on the country.
“The flow of arms continues unabated and more Typhoon sales are still being discussed. If Jeremy Hunt is serious about stopping the war and famine in Yemen and about justice for Jamal Khashoggi, then he will tell Mohammed bin Salman that it stops now. No more arms. No more UK support for the war.”
Ryvka Barnard, senior campaigns officer on militarism and security at union-backed charity War on Want, said: “The Saudi-led military assault on Yemen has created this humanitarian crisis affecting millions, and that war is made possible by the constant flow of weapons and materiel to Saudi Arabia from the UK and US.
“Selling weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia, known to be committing war crimes, contributes to a larger picture of impunity that completely undermines international law and human rights.”
The United Nations has warned that Yemen “is on the brink of the world’s worst famine for 100 years.”
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