Corbyn Minister Calls for Arms Embargo on Yemen Coalition

Corbyn Minister Calls for Arms Embargo on Yemen CoalitionCorbyn Minister Calls for Arms Embargo on Yemen Coalition

A Labour government would ban exports of British-made weapons to all members of the US-backed Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen, Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow minister for peace has told Middle East Eye.

“We should not be selling weapons to any state that uses, or could potentially use, weapons we supply for internal repression or for foreign wars,” said Fabian Hamilton MP in his first major interview since he was appointed shadow minister for peace and the Middle East last year.

Hamilton said that the Labour leader’s recent calls to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia over its bombardment of Yemen would be widened to include all nations involved in the bloody conflict.

It would be the first move by a future Labour government that would overhaul the arms sales regime to ensure exports would only be made to “states with a long history of using weapons solely for defensive purposes”.

On the sales of arms to the Saudi-led coalition engaged in the bombardment of Yemen, he said: “I don’t believe we have any business providing weapons of war for proxy wars.”

When asked if this would mean an embargo on the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Eygpt, he responded: “Absolutely.”

The Middle East is a key market for the UK’s $9.3b a year arms industry, which has sold almost $5.3b of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began its bombing campaign in Yemen.

Last month, the defense secretary, Michael Fallon signed a new military deal with the kingdom, in a sign of deepening relations.

More than 10,000 people of civilians have died in the Yemen conflict, with Saudi-led coalition air strikes continuing to be the “leading cause” of civilian deaths, including child deaths, according to the UN.

The impoverished country is also grappling with a sever outbreak of cholera and the International Committee of the Red Cross has warned that the number of cholera suspected cases could surpass one million by the end of the year.   

Famine is threatening a quarter of the now blockaded country. Half a million children under the age of five are severely malnourished, and at least 2,135 people, most of them children, have died of cholera in the past six months.

Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints