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    Military vehicles carrying Gulf Arab soldiers arrive at Yemen's northern province of Marib September 8, 2015

    UK Arms Supplies to Saudi Arabia 'Quietly' Fuel Yemen Conflict

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    Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring said that Yemen descended into a humanitarian disaster putting its people at risk of famine and the UK is materially involved through its export of arms and military support to the bombing campaign.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – British weapons supplied to Saudi-led anti-Houthi operations in Yemen are fueling the conflict and its escalating humanitarian crisis as well as possibly being in breach of arms sales laws, the international justice and poverty confederation Oxfam said Friday.

    "Yemen has descended into a humanitarian disaster putting its people at risk of famine and the UK is materially involved through its export of arms and military support to the bombing campaign," Oxfam chief executive Mark Goldring said.

    The UK Defense Ministry confirmed to RT in June that Britain is providing precision-guided weapons to the Saudi Air Force "as part of pre-existing arrangements." The following month, Defense Ministry Minister of State Earl Howe confirmed those comments to the UK Parliament.

    Saudi Arabia has been leading an Arab coalition engaged in anti-Houthi airstrikes at the request in March of Yemen’s exiled president.

    "There is a paradox at the heart of the [UK] government’s approach to Yemen," Goldring noted, contrasting Britain’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen with its arms supplies to Saudi Arabia.

    Oxfam argues that the "replenishing" of Saudi weaponry demonstrates UK Prime Minister David Cameron may have "turned a blind eye" to his commitment to the UN Arms Trade Treaty. The December 2014 treaty regulates international arms sales in an attempt to prevent human rights abuses.

    In an interview with Sputnik following the launch of the Saudi-led coalition anti-Houthi airstrikes, Campaign Against Arms Trade’s (CAAT) Andrew Smith called for an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia.

    Oxfam urged Britain to suspend its arms shipments and military support to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an investigation into the involvement of UK weaponry in the attacks. The organization said the UK must also reaffirm its condemnation of attacks that target civilians and help resolve the conflict diplomatically.

    The United Nations estimates the death toll in the five-month campaign at about 23,300, with four out of five Yemenis displaced and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.


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    humanitarian crisis, Oxfam, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Kingdom
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