ANTI-WAR campaigners and MPs called on the government today to end its relations with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince instead of welcoming him on a state visit.
Mohammad bin Salman is to visit Britain tomorrow on the Prime Minister’s invitation.
The government has defended the visit, claiming that supporting the repressive tyranny, which is bombing the daylight out of Yemen, has made both countries “safer and more prosperous.”
Labour MP Chris Williamson said that a Labour government would have an ethical foreign policy with Jeremy Corbyn as an “incredibly principled leader.”
He told the Star: “We can’t rely on an export to a despotic regime like Saudi Arabia.
“We need to use our influence to bring pressure on repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia to introduce human rights reforms in the country.”
The prince is the second most senior member of the Saudi regime and currently oversees the bombing of Yemen, where tens of thousands have been killed or injured.
The Saudi regime has supported the repression of Bahrain by intervening with the peaceful protests in 2011, imposed a blockade on Qatar and detained the Lebanese Prime Minister.
Andrew Smith of the Campaign Against Arms Trade said the “overwhelming majority” of people in Britain do not share PM Theresa May’s political and military support for the Saudi regime.
He said: “Despite the spin surrounding the crown prince, he is a figurehead for one of the world’s most authoritarian dictatorships.”
Mr Smith said it was time for the government to end its “shameful support for this appalling autocracy.”
A recent poll showed that more people in Britain oppose the visit than support it and only 6 per cent support arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Stop the War Coalition convener Lindsey German said: “UK support for and involvement in the brutal and illegal bombing of Yemen in favour of the Saudi dictatorship exposes British foreign policy as devoid of authentic ethical content.
“By inviting the crown prince to visit the UK, Theresa May and her government are once again demonstrating their open approval of Saudi Arabia’s actions.”
Ms German said it is vital that people attend the protest outside Downing Street this evening to make clear the British government’s complicity in the war on Yemen is opposed and that they demand a “peaceful and humane” foreign policy.
The Saudi Prince Not Welcome protest at Downing Street starts at 5pm.
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