Labour would seek way to end Yemen war ‘tomorrow’ if it was in power – Corbyn

A Labour government would go to the United Nations “tomorrow” to present a resolution to end the war in Yemen, Jeremy Corbyn said at a vigil for those affected by the brutal conflict.

He criticised the Government’s role in arming Saudi Arabia as he and several senior shadow ministers joined members of Liverpool’s Yemeni community on Sunday evening.

The Labour leader said that the Government must stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia to help bring an end to violence and suffering.

He told a crowd of around 50 people the humanitarian disaster in the country was “a human-made condition” brought about by “the bombardment of the people of Yemen by Saudi forces and, I’m sad to say, some of those weapons are provided by Britain”.

He said that the UN had been set up to bring wars to “a conclusion by a political process”, adding: “The members of the security council have a very special responsibility in this. We cannot run away and we cannot hide.

“If it were a Labour government Emily (Thornberry, the shadow foreign secretary) would be at the UN tomorrow presenting a resolution on how we would bring about an end to that conflict.

“This Government has failed, failed in its duty to resent a resolution to the UN that can bring about an end to this conflict.”

Yemen’s civil war has been raging since March 2015 and earlier this month the UK expressed “serious concern” over the loss of life in recent weeks.

It came after the Government received severe opposition criticism for selling arms to the Saudi-led coalition fighting Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in the Middle East state.

An air strike by the Saudi-led coalition that killed dozens of people in Yemen in August was branded an apparent war crime by Human Rights Watch.

At least 51 people, including 40 children, were killed and 79 others, including 56 children, were wounded in the air strike which hit a bus in a busy market.

Labour Party annual conference 2018
Mr Corbyn said a Labour government would go to the UN ‘tomorrow’ to seek a resolution to bring the war in Yemen to an end (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Corbyn praised the aid work of the Department for International Development (DfID) in the country, but said that “it doesn’t seem to add up that we provide aid to the victims while providing weapons that are used for the bombing in the first place”.

He went on: “A child dying of cholera, people being killed in schools, people being killed at wedding parties, that is abominable and unnecessary and utterly wrong in the 21st century.”

Mr Corbyn was joined at the vigil by Ms Thornberry, local MP Stephen Twigg, who chairs the International Development Committee, and Fabian Hamilton, the shadow minister for peace and disarmament.

The comedian and Labour activist Eddie Izzard, who was born in Aden in Yemen’s south, also spoke.

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