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    Britain's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt delivers his keynote address at the annual Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Britain, October 4, 2016.

    UK Foreign Secretary Insists Halt of Arms Exports Won't Resolve Yemeni Crisis

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The crisis in Yemen will not be resolved if the United Kingdom stops delivering weapons to "some of the participants" in the conflict, UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote in his opinion piece released by the Politico website on Tuesday.

    In the article dubbed "Yemen crisis won’t be solved by UK arms exports halt" Hunt expressed his views on the war in the tiny state, which has entered its fifth year and plunged the nation into one of the world's worst humanitarian catastrophes.

    "Some argue that Britain has contributed to the crisis because of arms sales to some of the participants. In fact we have some of the strictest arms control export guidelines in the world and I have made the quest for a political solution in Yemen a central priority for British diplomacy", Hunt wrote.

    READ MORE: Yemen Has Coordinates of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi Targets, Ready to Retaliate – Report

    Hunt insisted that the history of the United Kingdom made the country play a certain role in making a "constructive difference" in the Middle Eastern region.

    "Our strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates allows us the opportunity to influence their leaders. We could, of course, decide to condemn them instead. We could halt our military exports and sever the ties that British governments of all parties have carefully preserved for decades, as critics are urging. But in doing so we would also surrender our influence and make ourselves irrelevant to the course of events in Yemen," he added.

    The UK foreign secretary drew attention to the fact that the crisis in Yemen had started long before the Saudi-led intervention began back in March 2015. He reminded that six months prior to the campaign's launch Houthi rebels "expelled the internationally recognized government" and only then Riyadh launched an operation to restore the country's government.

    READ MORE: Five British Commandos Injured in Secret Operations in Northern Yemen – Reports

    "Before they had launched a single air strike, Yemen was already at war", he stressed.

    The Saudi-led coalition has been engaged in the civil war in Yemen since March 2015, when it started to carry out airstrikes against the Houthis at the request of Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. The Yemeni civil war has claimed over 7,000 lives, while over 20 million people in Yemen currently face need of humanitarian assistance, according to the UN estimates.

    Anti-arms groups have repeatedly criticized the UK for delivering arms to the kingdom, stressing that it made London complicit in Riyadh's human rights abuses, and called on the government to halt arms supplies to Gulf states.

    READ MORE: Reports on UAE Arms in Yemen Highlight Role ‘External Actors’ Play in Conflict

    Related:

    Five British Commandos Injured in Secret Operations in Northern Yemen – Reports
    Saudi-Led Coalition Hits Houthi Sites in Yemen’s Capital – Reports
    Saudi-Led Coalition Launches Raids on Houthi Camps in Yemen's Sanaa - Reports
    Yemen Has Coordinates of Riyadh, Abu Dhabi Targets, Ready to Retaliate – Report
    US Senate Passes Resolution to End Military Support for Saudi-Led War in Yemen
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    arms exports, conflict, war, Jeremy Hunt, United Kingdom, Yemen
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