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Thornberry grills Hunt: Did you bow down to Saudi Arabia over Yemen?

EMILY THORNBERRY called on Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt today to clarify whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had persuaded Britain to soften its draft resolution on the Yemen war.

Mr Hunt’s Labour shadow asked the urgent question in the Commons after charity Save the Children warned that 85,000 Yemeni youngsters under the age of five have died from hunger and disease since the Saudi-led assault began three years ago.

Ms Thornberry asked why Britain’s current United Nations security council draft resolution does not call for the investigation of alleged war crimes, as did its previous draft from 2016.

Mr Hunt met the crowd prince in the Saudi capital Riyadh last week.

Ms Thornberry called on him to say whether the recent draft that Prince Mohammed was presented with had included the demand for an investigation into alleged war crimes, suggesting that the prince had demanded its removal.

Mr Hunt didn’t answer her question about the exclusion of an investigation from the recent draft, despite agreeing that there “absolutely” has to be a “full investigation.” 

He also said: “The important thing about the resolution that we are proposing is not that this is the end of the story in terms of international efforts to broker a ceasefire. This is a step in the road.

“We want a ceasefire that will hold and we know the risk that, if you go for too much too early in these resolutions, that they end up getting ignored.

“And so this is a carefully brokered form of words, designed to get a consensus from both sides that allow talks to start before the end of this month in Stockholm. That’s the objective of this resolution.

“If the talks are successful, we will be able to have a much stronger resolution to follow.”

Ms Thornberry also pointed out that the recent draft does not stipulate sanctions for parties that breach a ceasefire, asking which body would monitor the compliance.

Mr Hunt said: “The UN will monitor compliance and, if there is not compliance, then it is up to the UN to decide what further measures are taken.”


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