Wednesday 13 June 2018 / 2:20 PM Emily Thornberry / Yemen

HMG must stop making excuses for Saudi-led coalition

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, responding to the Saudi-led coalition’s assault on the port of Hodeidah, said:

“For weeks, the world has warned that any assault on the port of Hodeidah would directly threaten the lives of hundreds of thousands of civilians living in the city, would cut off the lifeline of food and medicine for millions of other Yemeni civilians, and would risk plunging a country already facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis into a full-blown humanitarian disaster.

“Instead of attacking Hodeidah, the United Nations has pleaded with the Saudi-led coalition to establish a ceasefire and return to meaningful peace talks, and the UN’s Yemen envoy said an attack on Hodeidah would wipe the prospects of peace off the table. But despite all those warnings and pleas, and with callous disregard for the humanitarian consequences, the Saudi-led coalition has launched this brutal assault.

“The world should stand united in condemning that action, and the UK government in particular must ask itself how it can – with any conscience – carry on supporting, advising and arming the coalition that is carrying out this assault, and threatening the lives of so many millions of ordinary men, women and children.

“For three years, the UK government has made constant excuses for the Saudi-led coalition, explaining that the bombing of weddings, funerals and food markets have all just been unfortunate mistakes. But the assault on Hodeidah cannot be dismissed as a mistake; it is a calculated act of brutality against Yemen’s civilian population, and if the UK government will not both condemn it and act through the United Nations to stop it, it will not just stand accused of cowardice but complicity.”