UK Supplied $4Bln Worth of Arms to Saudi Arabia in 1st Year of Yemen Conflict

The United Kingdom sold over 3 billion pounds ($3.9 billion) worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia during the first year of the Saudi-led intervention in the Yemeni conflict, UK media reported Wednesday.

Contracts worth 2.2 billion pounds for the supply of various manned aircraft and drones to Saudi Arabia were signed by the UK government between April 2015 and March 2016, and a further 1.1 billion pounds worth of bombs, missiles and other explosives and 430,000 pounds worth of armored vehicles and tanks were supplied in the same period, the Independent newspaper reported.

Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict between the Aden-based government with the Saudi-led coalition backing on one side and Houthi rebels allied with the General People’s Congress (GPC) and army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh on the other, for over a year. The coalition has been accused by the United Nations and humanitarian organizations of indiscriminately bombing civilians and killing hundreds of children.

The UK government has repeatedly been blamed by humanitarian organizations, including Oxfam and Amnesty International, for fueling the Yemeni conflict by supplying Saudi Arabia with arms. The United Kingdom was also accused of supplying Saudi Arabia with cluster bombs, which are explosive weapons containing large numbers of smaller sub-munitions and prohibited by the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The accusations have been denied by the government, with former Foreign Secretary Philipp Hammond stating that Saudi Arabia was complying with international human rights laws in Yemen.


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