BORIS JOHNSON’S TRIP TO SAUDI ARABIA to push for an increase in oil supply to replace Russian gas has been condemned by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

CAAT says the trip, coming in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s largest ever mass execution, sends a clear signal that the most grievous human rights abuses and killings can take place with impunity, so long as international trade continues.

Saudi Arabia executed 81 men on Saturday 12 March, the largest mass execution in the country’s modern history. Rather than condemn this brutal loss of life, CAAT says the Prime Minister is rewarding the Saudi regime with increased UK dependency not only as its largest arms customer but now as fossil fuel supplier of choice.

The seven year anniversary of the Saudi-led Coalition’s bombardment of Yemen – and ongoing humanitarian disaster – takes place on 26 March. CAAT estimates that the total value of UK arms sales to the Saudi-led Coalition since the beginning of the war is over £22 billion.

Katie Fallon of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The Prime Minister wrote yesterday that west’s reliance on Russian fuel has “emboldened” Putin to bomb civilians during his invasion of Ukraine. This relationship is clearly mirrored by the UK’s reliance on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has emboldened Saudi Arabia to commit violations of International Humanitarian Law in Yemen with impunity, as well as ending the only UN investigative mechanism into violations by all parties to the conflict.

“This trip signals that the Prime Minister plans not only to replicate but to entrench another trading relationship with a murderous regime with no regard for the right to life of their own citizens, yet alone those of another country such as Yemen. When we ask ourselves how did Russia feel so emboldened as to invade Ukraine indiscriminately targeting civilians throughout the first three weeks of this devastating war, the answer lies in decades of silence, excuses and short sighted self-interest illustrated perfectly by the unconscionable actions of the Prime Minister.

* Source: Campaign Against Arms Trade