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2 Feb, 2017 11:25

Britain backing the losing side in Yemen, must change policy to prevent famine – MP

Britain backing the losing side in Yemen, must change policy to prevent famine – MP

Britain has been backing the losing side in the Saudi-led war in Yemen and must change course to prevent a famine, Tory MP Andrew Mitchell told the House of Commons International Development Committee on Wednesday.

Mitchell said the Saudi-backed regime in the country has no support among Yemenis and that a disaster is on the horizon. He recently returned from a fact-finding trip to the country, which is being bombed by Saudi Arabia with British help.

He explained that during a visit to a hospital where victims of malnutrition were being treated, he saw posters condemning the British and Americans.

He also heard chants which a local teacher translated for him as calling for “death to the Americans and death to the Saudis, and out of deference to you they have not said the third stanza.

He warned the committee that “the coalition which we support is destroying the port and the efforts of the British humanitarian community to get aid through that port.

Mitchell also spoke about the rise of malnutrition and the encroaching threat of famine.

The Yemenis are not starving, they are being starved,” he said.

As the first UK politician to visit the country in two years, he urged the government to change its policy from one of material and political support for the Saudi bombing and the regime to one of “much greater neutrality.

The UN has also warned that the Saudi blockade on Yemen’s ports could well spark a famine this year in the already impoverished country.

An astounding 10.3 million Yemenis… require immediate assistance to save or sustain their lives [and] at least two million people need emergency food assistance to survive,” UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien warned the Security Council on January 23.

The ongoing conflict in Yemen is “the primary driver of the largest food security emergency in the world,” he added.