Human Rights and Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia — [Mrs Cheryl Gillan in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 10:47 am on 8th June 2016.

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Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe 10:47 am, 8th June 2016

No, I am not giving way. In fairness, the hon. Lady intervened many times during the course of the debate. I have little time available, and I think her hon. Friend, the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, wants some time to reply to the debate at the end of our proceedings.

The coalition is there at the invitation of the legitimate Government. Saudi Arabia, whatever criticisms we make of it, is actively helping the United Nations supervision of humanitarian assistance in Yemen, and my understanding is that Saudi Arabia is also the largest single bilateral donor to the humanitarian relief taking place in Yemen. Those things, too, need to be weighed in any overall judgment we make about the activities of the coalition within Yemen.

In respect of the allegations about breaches of international humanitarian law, the Ministry of Defence makes assessments of how the Saudis are acting and whether the coalition is observing international human rights obligations. The MOD assessment is that the Saudi-led coalition is not targeting civilians; that Saudi processes and procedures have been put in place to ensure respect for the principles of international humanitarian law; and that the Saudis both have been and continue to be genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law.