Sajid Javid hails UAE as force for peace just days after UN accuses Emirati regime of war crimes in Yemen
UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid has hailed the UAE as a force for ‘international peace and security’ just days after UN experts accused the Emirati regime of systematic human rights abuses and war crimes in Yemen.
The comments were made during a private meeting in London earlier this week with the UAE’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayad Al Nayan.
Though the Home Office refused to issue an official comment on the meeting, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation released a statement providing details of the discussion, which it said covered issues of security, counter-terrorism and bilateral trade.
According to the statement, Sajid Javid ‘hailed the UAE's important role and pioneering initiatives to promote international peace and security and combat extremism and terrorism.’
These comments come just days after the UN published a damning report implicating the Emirati regime in human rights violations and war crimes in Yemen. The 41-page document accuses the UAE and Saudi Arabia of killing thousands of civilians in indiscriminate airstrikes targeting public spaces, such as residential areas, markets, weddings, funerals and medical facilities. UN experts also said that Emirati armed forces were responsible for widespread practices of arbitrary detention, torture and rape in Emirati-controlled prisons across the country.
Despite this, Conservative MP David Jones, who was also present at Monday’s meeting, told UAE state-owned news publication The National that he was confident the UAE desired a political solution to the Yemen conflict as quickly as possible, adding that the hour-long discussion was one of the most positive he had ever had with an overseas official.
In February this year Jones was one of a number of members of the All Party Parliamentary Group on the UAE who travelled to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The trip was fully sponsored by the UAE’s ministry of foreign affairs, according to the House of Commons Register of Interests.
As part of his official visit to the UK, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nayan is set to meet UK Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, and Minister for Middle East, Alistair Burt, at the Foreign office in the coming days.
In last week’s report, UN experts urged the international community to “refrain from providing arms that could be used in the conflict.” Since the onset of the conflict in 2015, the UK, along with the US and France, have been a principal supplier of arms and ammunitions to Saudi-led coalition forces. Despite substantial pressure from rights groups, the British government have so far refused to implement an arms embargo on key actors in the conflict.