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Oxfam: G20’s Saudi arms sales 3 times as much as aid to Yemen

  • Published at 12:37 pm November 21st, 2020
File photo: Smoke rises during an air strike on an army weapons depot on a mountain overlooking Yemen's capital Sanaa Reuters

The charity organization said the figure was three times more than what the G20 members have given to Yemen as humanitarian aid

Oxfam International said member states of the Group of 20 (G20) have sold more than $17 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia since it intervened in Yemen’s conflict in 2015.

In a report released on November 17, the charity organization said the figure was three times more than what the G20 members have given to Yemen as humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia opened the G20 summit in a first for an Arab nation yesterday.

While some European nations have halted arms sales to Riyadh after it launched a military campaign in Yemen – which the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – many G20 members have continued to supply it with arms, reports Al Jazeera.

"Making billions from arms exports which fuel the conflict while providing a small fraction of that in aid to Yemen is both immoral and incoherent. The world's wealthiest nations cannot continue to put profits above the Yemeni people," Muhsin Siddiquey, Oxfam's Yemen country director said in a statement.

In March 2015, a coalition led by the oil-rich kingdom launched a campaign of aerial bombardment aimed at countering the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels and reinstating the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), a defence think-tank, Saudi Arabia was the world’s top arms importer between 2014 and 2018, spending $16.9 billion on weapons, with at least $4.9 billion of that amount spent on European arms.

Oxfam’s Awssan Kamal told Al Jazeera that it is "shocking to see that level of business happening” as Yemen enters its sixth year of conflict, with 80% of the impoverished country’s 30 million people in need of help.

"As we work … to respond to the coronavirus, we’re seeing a dramatic drop in the humanitarian funding levels,” he said.

However, Rights groups have criticized the Saudi-led coalition for air raids that have killed civilians at hospitals, schools and markets, and urged the Western governments to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the stalemated conflict.

There has been "one air raid every ten days” on hospitals, clinics, wells and water tanks during the war, according to Oxfam.

The charity group said, "The arrival of coronavirus has only worsened these dire circumstances. And yet the United Nations’ response plan to get clean water, food and medical care to the most vulnerable is only 44% funded this year.”

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