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    Houthi militant stands guard outside the house of court judge Yahya Rubaid after a Saudi-led air strike destroyed it, killing him, his wife and five other family members, in Yemen's capital Sanaa January 25, 2016.

    UK Probe Into Arms Use in Yemen Powerless to Change Saudi Arms Trade Policy

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    The recently launched UK parliamentary inquiry into the use of UK arms in Yemen does not have the power necessary to change London's policy towards arms trade with Saudi Arabia, a spokesman for the London-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) told Sputnik on Friday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — On Thursday, the UK Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) launched an inquiry into the use of UK-produced arms in the Yemen conflict. Committee Chairman Chris White noted that the financial success of the UK defense industry should not come at the cost of the UK strategic interests.

    "The parliamentary inquiry will have influence, but it does not have the power to change government policy. For decades, Saudi Arabia has been the world's largest buyer of UK arms," Andrew Smith said.

    On Tuesday, Leigh Day law firm, representing CAAT, began formal legal action in the High Court to challenge the government's decision to export arms to Saudi Arabia following evidence that Saudi forces are acting in violation of the international humanitarian law in Yemen.

    "The government is supposed to regulate the arms industry, yet it also actively promotes it. All too often arms sales and arms company profits are put ahead of humanitarian need. The situation in Yemen is desperate, and the bombing campaign has exacerbated the civil war and created a humanitarian catastrophe. The UK hasn't just provided military support for the bombardment, it has also provided political support," Smith added.

    On February 25, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia due to its operation in Yemen, passing by 359 to 212 votes. Later in the day, a UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson told Sputnik that London is aware of the resolution but it is content with the UK arms export system.

    A Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched airstrikes against the Houthis in March last year at Hadi's request.

    In January, the UK government released arms sales statistics demonstrating that British arms companies had boosted their sales to Saudi Arabia by more than 100 times over the course of last year — from contracts worth 9 million pounds (almost $13 million) in April-June 2015 to over 1 billion pounds ($1.43 billion) in July-September.


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