UK to increase aid spending in war-torn Yemen amid Saudi Arabia concerns
The UK will boost aid money for Yemen as the country continues to suffer a brutal civil war, International Development Secretary Priti Patel has announced.
The Government will increase its spending by £37m this year, bringing the total to £100m, Ms Patel told the BBC.
But Labour argued Britain's arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which is a key player in the war, negates aid work in the region.
Since the conflict started in March 2015 more than 3,000 civilians have been killed while millions more have been ousted from their homes.
A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and backed by the UK has been bombing rebel forces in an attempt to reinstate the government which was toppled in 2014.
Speaking at the UN summit in New York, Ms Patel said: "People are suffering. There's no water or clean sanitation, there is a public health crisis, children are dying, there is a need for food and shelter."
But there have been growing calls for Britain to halt arms sales to Saudia Arabia amid allegations the Kingdom has breached international humanitarian law in Yemen.
A United Nations panel has raised concerns about more than 100 missions conducted by the Saudis over Yemen.
Ms Patel said the UK has "a robust policy and position" on arms controls.
But Shadow International Development Secretary Kate Osamor argued arms sales to Saudi Arabia “potentially implicate” the UK and “negate” international development work in the region.
In an interview with The House magazine, she said: “You can’t be bedfellows with these people who are actually dictators and are taking people’s lives and using our friendship in such a flamboyant way.”
She said the UK should suspend arms sales to Riyadh until a full investigation has been carried out, and argued Britain should be “telling them [the Saudis] off” for the brutality of their regime.
Elsewhere, the Government announced a joint plan with the EU and the World Bank to create 100,000 jobs in Ethiopia in a bid to tackle the ongoing migrant crisis.