Theresa May’s comments about Yemen are outstanding in their hypocrisy

may saudi Yemen
Sam Woolfe

Theresa May has voiced her concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Given the escalating situation, the Prime Minister is now calling on the Saudi regime to ease its blockade, which is leaving millions of Yemenis hungry and at risk of famine. Yet May’s government is selling more and more weapons to the Saudis, which is also creating devastation in the country.

“A matter of urgency”

May visited Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Wednesday 29 November; meeting with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. She used the opportunity to make an appeal about Yemen, which is experiencing the “largest famine the world has seen for many decades”. A spokesperson from May’s office said:

The prime minister made clear that the flow of commercial supplies… must be resumed if we are to avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

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May, the Saudi King and Crown Prince agreed that “steps needed to be taken as a matter of urgency to address this”. 

The UK’s role 

UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia have increased by 5000% compared to the two year period leading up to the war. This is while the Saudi-led military coalition has been destroying vital infrastructure in Yemen; this includes schools and hospitals, and killing and injuring hundreds of children.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford recently slammed the government for its arms deals with Saudi Arabia at Prime Minister’s Questions. First Secretary of State Damian Green was standing in for May at the time while she was in Saudi Arabia. And he said to Blackford that stopping these trade deals “would certainly entail significant job losses”.

For Green, it appears that jobs in Britain matter more than lives in Yemen. And May too can hardly claim to care about the people in Yemen. She talks about the urgency to address the humanitarian crisis but refuses to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia. The hypocrisy is worse than frustrating. It is a travesty and a stain on the reputation of this country.

Get Involved!

– Support Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

– Read more about the situation in Yemen.

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Featured image via Flickr

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