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UK says it supports Saudi Arabia's 'self-defence' in Yemen

Prince Mohammed is on a controversial three-day visit to Britain [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 March, 2018

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The foreign minister of Britain has defended the brutal Saudi-led military intervention in neighbouring Yemen, which has killed more than 9,300 people and wounded more than 50,000.

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UK, Saudi, Yemen

The foreign minister of Britain has defended the brutal Saudi-led military intervention in neighbouring Yemen, which has killed more than 9,300 people and wounded more than 50,000.

"Britain supports Saudi Arabia's right to defend its national security against missile attacks from Yemen, many of which have targeted the Kingdom’s cities, including Riyadh," Boris Johnson said.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson made the remarks in a statement on Thursday, as the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman makes a controversial visit to the UK.

Britain and Saudi Arabia have meanwhile agreed to strengthen inspections for shipments to Yemen to allow humanitarian aid to reach the war-torn country.

"Today we have agreed to strengthen the UN inspection of shipping in order to ensure that all Yemeni ports remain open to the humanitarian and commercial supplies that Yemen's people so desperately need," Johnson said.

Saudi Arabia and its allies launched a military intervention in Yemen in 2015 with the aim of rolling back Houthi rebels who had seized the capital and restoring the government to power.

Foodstuff imports have been restricted for months after Saudi Arabia and its allies blockaded Yemen's ports, accusing Iran of supplying the rebels with ballistic missiles.

Prince Mohammed is on a three-day visit to Britain, which began with a lunch with Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday, and will see him hold the second of two meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May later Thursday.

Around 200 demonstrators lined up outside the gates of Downing Street on Wednesday evening to condemn Riyadh's involvement in the brutal war in Yemen.

"Bin Salman is a war criminal," the crowd shouted while holding up placards saying: "Hands off Yemen" and "Stop Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia and UAE".

The UK has licensed £4.6 billion ($6.3 billion) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since it began the intervention in neighbouring Yemen.

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