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Philip Hammond to press for more action on Syria and Yemen on Gulf tour

Published 29/05/2016

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will use a tour of Gulf states to press for more concerted action on Syria and Yemen.

After arriving in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, Mr Hammond then goes on to Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman.

The Foreign Secretary will also meet the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in Kuwait to underline UK support for the peace process in the strife-torn country.

Speaking ahead of the visit, the Foreign Secretary said: "Wherever we look, the world is becoming more dangerous and more uncertain. International engagement is fundamental to maintaining both Britain's security and our prosperity.

"Britain's strong relations with the Gulf states enable us to work together on regional challenges and shared threats that confront us, whether from violent extremism, terrorism, or volatile economic conditions.

"The crisis in Yemen will be high on my agenda during discussions in the Gulf. Allowing the state to collapse is simply not an option. Britain is continuing to work together with all parties to support a comprehensive political solution to the conflict."

Amnesty International's Allan Hogarth said: "Philip Hammond should use the visit to inform Saudi Arabia that the reckless conduct of its military coalition in Yemen is totally unacceptable and the UK will be ceasing arms sales to it and other coalition members until a full independent investigation of this bloody conflict is undertaken.

"Just last week we published evidence of how the Saudi Arabia-led coalition has been using internationally-banned cluster bombs in attacks on villages in northern Yemen.

"Civilians - including small children - have been killed and maimed, with deadly unexploded bomblets left strewn over farming land, roads and even inside people's homes.

"Altogether, in the last year thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed and injured in reckless Saudi-led coalition air strikes - further weapons sales to Saudi Arabia would simply add more fuel to the fire.

"Time and time again Mr Hammond has sought to brush the issue of civilian deaths in Yemen under the carpet. Is today's visit going to be just the latest example of that?"

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