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UK Labour Party Bars Saudi Arabia from its Conference Over War Crimes

London (AHT– The Labour Party has barred Saudi Arabia and Sudan from attending its party conference in Brighton, the Independent reported.

A spokesperson for the party told Huffington Post: “Following evidence of war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in its bombing campaign in Yemen and other large-scale human rights abuses, the NEC agreed that the embassy’s application to attend the Labour Party conference would not be accepted.”

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has called for the Government to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia, arguing they are being used in Yemen’s civil war.

“We are selling arms to Saudi Arabia… and at the same time we are sending aid in, we should not be doing both,” he told the BBC’s World at One programme.

Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn
Image: Flickr – Garry Knight

Mr Corbyn went on to say it was important to ensure there is “a political process to bring about a ceasefire” in Yemen.

In response, the League of Arab States wrote to Labour MPs and peers to tell them a reception and dinner hosted by Arab ambassadors would be cancelled.

“Unfortunately, the council of Arab Ambassadors has taken the decision to cancel its annual reception and buffet dinner,” the letter read.

It added: “Our council has decided to refrain from attending the Labour party conference this year due to rejection of both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Sudan’s application to attend the conference.”

Labour’s annual conference begins next Sunday.

Related: Corbyn Defied Media Rules By Linking UK Wars To Terrorism

It’s noteworthy to say, 0n Wednesday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging EU Member States to improve the implementation of the EU Common Position on Arms Export. The resolution calls for more transparency, a supervisory body and a sanctions mechanism for those Member States not following minimum requirements. It re-iterates the urgent need to impose an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights reported.

EU resolution comes after the recent report that the United Kingdom (UK) exported almost £ 3.6 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the war on Yemen began.

A report published by the Guardian this September reads: “UK arms manufacturers have exported almost £5bn worth of weapons to countries that are judged to have repressive regimes in the 22 months since the Conservative party won the last election.”

The Guardian also notes: “The Saudis have historically been a major buyer of British-made weapons, but the rise in sales to other countries signals a shift in emphasis on the part of the government, which is keen to support the defence industry, which employs more than 55,000 people.”

Related: Corbyn Says What We All Knew: The War On Terror Isn’t Working

Saudi Arabia has been striking Yemen since March 2015 to restore power to fugitive president Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh. The Saudi-led aggression has so far killed at least 14,000 Yemenis, including hundreds of women and children.

Nearly 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition. The Al-Saud aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

This post was originally written for and published by American Herald Tribune.

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