Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 20th November 2017.

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Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt Minister of State (Department for International Development) (Jointly with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office), Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development) 4:26 pm, 20th November 2017

The Crown Prince’s response, on behalf of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was to point out the need to control weapons that might threaten Saudi Arabia being smuggled into Yemen and used by those with whom the Saudis are in conflict, as has been the case for a period of time. We worry that the sophistication of the missiles being smuggled in has increased, which has thus increased not only the risk to Saudi Arabia and neighbouring places, but the risk of the conflict escalating and becoming still worse. There is a serious concentration on trying to prevent that, because it looks likely to prolong the conflict and make the humanitarian situation still worse.

At the same time, I understand that the Crown Prince was absolutely aware, as the public statement by the Saudis made clear, that the restrictions were intended not to cause the humanitarian situation about which there are now concerns, but to deal with the arms supplies being smuggled in. The partners, the agencies with which we work and we ourselves are impressing on the coalition that such a situation may be the unintended effect. That is why the restrictions need to be lifted, and there has to be the access for which the hon. Lady is looking.