To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the joint statement on the fifth anniversary of the conflict in Yemen, published on 26 March 2020, what representations officials in his Department have made to their Saudi Arabian counterparts on a permanent ceasefire in Yemen; and whether arms and military equipment is being (a) sold and (b) transferred to that country through existing (i) open and (ii) single export licences.
27 April 2020
The UK welcomes the unilateral ceasefire announced by Saudi Arabia, which follows the call on 25 March by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for a cease to hostilities in Yemen. We fully support the UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths's call for all parties to engage in urgent political talks to convert this into a durable ceasefire. We have also secured a UN Security Council statement which urges the Houthis to engage constructively with his efforts: https://www.un.org/press/en/2020/sc14159.doc.htm. A ceasefire will only have an effect on the ground if it is underpinned by a political deal. It is important that both the Houthis and the Government of Yemen seize this opportunity for progress. A permanent ceasefire and co-operation with the UN-led political process is the best defence we have against a potentially devastating outbreak of Covid-19 in Yemen.
Until the Secretary of State for International Trade re-takes the licensing decisions remitted to her by the Court of Appeal, or concludes a successful appeal, the Government will not issue new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners for possible use in the conflict in Yemen. The Government publishes official statistics (on a quarterly and annual basis) about export licences on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data. These reports contain detailed information on the type of export licences issued, refused or revoked, by destination type (e.g. Military, Other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences.