I know that many people are concerned about military exports to Saudi Arabia. I would like to reassure you that, following the Court of Appeal’s judgment in June last year, the Secretary of State for International Trade has now retaken licensing decisions regarding military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen on the correct legal basis.
New licence applications will be assessed against a revised methodology, which evaluates whether there is a clear risk that the equipment in question might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law. Each application will be carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, and a licence will not be granted if to do so would be a breach of the criteria.
I am deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and I fully support the UN Special Envoy’s call for all parties to engage in urgent political talks and de-escalate the conflict, which is the only way to bring peace and prosperity back to Yemen. UK support to Yemen since the conflict began now totals nearly £1 billion, and I strongly welcome the Government’s recent announcement of a £160 million aid package to support Yemen’s health services in the fight against COVID-19, and prevent a worsening of the humanitarian crisis.