Saudi Arabia fights to maintain arms deal, UK helps

Saudi Arabia has to fight now to maintain access to British and American-made arms, reported Forbes.

Saudi Arabia is fighting a brutal war in Yemen, and is accused of violating human rights laws and using arms for killing civilians.

According to Forbes, Saudi Foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir was in London in early September, giving media interviews, speeches and trying to charm MPs away from supporting an arms embargo on the country.

His visit coincided with news that a parliamentary committee was preparing to issue a report for halting and suspending arms sales to Riyadh.

Britain and America are by far the largest suppliers of arms to Riyadh, accounting for $2.6bn of the $3.2bn spent by Saudi Arabia on weapons last year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Since 2010, the U.S. has sold $4.9bn worth of arms, while Britain has sold $3.5bn.

Although the UK is facing accusations of exporting weapons to a county that is violating the international law in Yemen, UK Prime Minister Theresa May has staunchly defended selling arms to Saudi Arabia, insisting close ties “keep people on the streets of Britain safe”, said The Independent.

But, in response to The Committees on Arms Export Controls which is made up of four parliamentary committees, Ms May pointed out she had called on Saudi Arabia to investigate the allegations about Yemen when she met with the Kingdom’s deputy crown prince at the recent G20 summit in China.

Last month, aid agency Oxfam accused the British government of “denial and disarray” over an agreement to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which could be used in Yemen, reported  BBC.