Britain resumes sales of arms to Saudi Arabia
In a written statement, the trade secretary, Liz Truss, said sales would restart after an official review concluded there had been only “isolated incidents” of airstrikes in Yemen that breached humanitarian law.
Truss said the undertaking given by the government after the court defeat last June “falls away”. The government had undertaken not to grant any new licences to export arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen.
As a result, Truss said, “the government will now begin the process of clearing the backlog of licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that has built up since 20 June last year”.
Arms trade campaigners said the decision was “disgraceful and morally bankrupt” and they were considering a legal challenge.
Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “The Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and the government itself admits that UK-made arms have played a central role on the bombing. We will be exploring all options available to challenge it.”