‘Like asking if you’ll stop beating your wife’: Saudi ambassador dodges Yemen cluster bomb question
Prince Abdullah Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, was confronted by a reporter from the Intercept, the publication said on Tuesday.
“Will you continue to use cluster weapons in Yemen?” the reporter asked the diplomat.
Al-Saud laughed before answering: “This is like the question, ‘Will you stop beating your wife?’”
After the reporter repeated the question, the ambassador again dismissed it, saying “You are political operators. I’m not a politician.”
Speaking at the Annual Arab-US Policymakers Conference last week, al-Saud insisted that the Saudi-led coalition will continue its bombing campaign in Yemen, the Intercept reported.
“If anyone attacks human lives and disturbs the border, in whatever region, we’re going to continue hitting them, no matter what,” said al-Saud.
On Monday, the US envoy to the UN, Samantha Power, called on the Saudi-led coalition to “refrain from taking steps that escalate violence” in Yemen. However, her appeal contradicts Washington’s actions, with the Pentagon continuing to supply arms and provide military support to Riyadh.
Earlier, Human Rights Watch (HRW) accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes following an airstrike on a funeral in Yemen on October 8. In that incident, at least two air-dropped munitions penetrated the roof of a hall containing over 1,000 mourners during the funeral ceremony of Ali al-Rawishan, the father of the Sanaa-based administration’s interior minister, Jalal al-Rawishan. At least 140 people were killed and 610 wounded.
Despite calls by US officials to review its support for its Middle Eastern ally, Washington continues to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, approving more than $20 billion in military sales in 2015 alone, HRW reports.
According to UN data from August this year, the Saudi intervention in Yemen has claimed the lives of at least 10,000 people, including almost 4,000 civilians. The UN and HRW have repeatedly accused the Saudi military of dropping cluster bombs in Yemeni residential areas.