London-Four British Cabinet Ministers, including Boris Johnson, have vowed to continue to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in defiance of two parliamentary committees that called for Britain to cease military support for the country.
The Telegraph newspaper explained that Foreign Secretary Johnson issued an unprecedented joint statement with Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, Development Secretary Priti Patel, and Trade Secretary Liam Fox, pledging to continue sales to Saudi Arabia despite growing concerns about the country’s claimed intervention in Yemen.
The ministers said in their statement they are “confident in its robust case-by-case assessment” and satisfied that arms sales to Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK’s export licensing rules.
They said: “We continue to assess export license applications for Saudi Arabia on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application.”
“The key test for our continued arms exports is whether there is a clear risk that those exports might be used in a commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).”
“A license will not be issued for any country, including Saudi Arabia, if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL,” the statement said.
For his part, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, speaking exclusively to The Telegraph, said it was “in Britain’s interest” to continue supporting the Saudis in the battle to prevent Yemen falling into the hands of Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.