BRITAIN has licensed the sale of more than £4.6 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, a campaign group revealed yesterday as Saudi Arabia’s ongoing assault on Yemen reached its 1,000th day.
More than 10,000 people have been killed as a direct consequence of the war, which has caused one of the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophes, and many more have died as a result of famine and disease, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade.
Over recent months, the worst cholera outbreak on record has taken hold in Yemen, the group said, and a Saudi-imposed blockade has left more than eight million people dependent on aid.
Amid all this destruction, Britain has licensed the sale of £2.7bn worth of aircraft, helicopters and drones; £1.9bn worth of grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures; and £572,000 worth of armoured vehicles and tanks.
Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “For 1,000 days, Saudi forces have inflicted a terrible bombardment and devastating destruction on Yemen.
“Thousands have been killed, and millions displaced, yet the Saudi military remains by far the world’s largest buyer of UK arms.
“Any aid that is reaching those in need must be welcomed, but the best thing that PM Theresa May and her colleagues can do for the Yemeni people is to stop the arms sales and end their political and military support for the Saudi regime.”
A recent poll by Opinium LLP for CAAT found that 68 per cent of adults in Britain oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Just 12 per cent approve of them.
Saudi Arabia intends to spend more on its military than anything else next year, its budget revealed yesterday.
Riyadh set aside 210 billion riyals (£42bn) for the military, above the 192bn riyals (£38bn) it pledged for education and the 147bn riyals (£29bn) it plans to spend on health and social development.
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