Military sales were suspended over concerns about Saudi human rights violations in Yemen. Now, Britain argues that Saudi violations there are “isolated incidents.”
One day after sanctioning 20 Saudis for human rights violations, Britain on Tuesday sent a very different signal to the government in Riyadh, ending a moratorium on arm sales to Saudi Arabia over its involvement in the bloody conflict in Yemen.
A court ruling last year forced the British government to suspend sales of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia because of the risk they would be used in violation of international humanitarian law.
But after a review, Liz Truss, Britain’s international trade secretary, said on Tuesday that procedures had been revised to comply with the court’s concerns, and that the suspension of licenses for the export of arms to Saudi Arabia was at an end.
Her decision prompted anger from opposition politicians and campaigners, protests that were sharpened by the timing of the announcement. On Monday, the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, imposed sanctions on 47 people, including 25 Russians accused of aiding and abetting in the death of Sergei L. Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died after brutal treatment in detention in 2009.