BELGRADE – Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin issued a blistering criticism of the UK on Monday, suggesting that Britain has little business overseeing questions on Yemen at the Security Council, given that it is also one the largest suppliers of arms to the Gulf states bombing the country.
Speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council devoted to the situation in Yemen on Monday, Churkin pointed out that British weapons have been used by the Saudi-led coalition. “It’s known, for example, that the UK is one of the largest suppliers of all sorts of weapons in the region, which are then used against Yemenis,” the ambassador stressed.
“Since March 2015, The Guardian and The Independent have reported that London had sold weapons worth more than 3 billion pounds, or over $5 billion [to Gulf countries]. Pretty good money to line one’s pockets with from a war, no? Civilians are being killed by these weapons.”
In this context, Churkin asked Security Council members to consider “how a country that has a clear material interest in the continuation of the conflict can oversee the Yemeni dossier to the Security Council?”
Britain has traditionally been charged with preparing Security Council statements and draft resolutions on Yemen. Last month, Russia blocked a statement drafted by Britain condemning a Saudi airstrike on a funeral which killed over 140 mourners. Churkin called the statement, which did not name the purpotrators or call for any sort of investigation or punishment of those responsible, extremely weak.
The UK has been working on a new resolution on Yemen, but has yet to submit it. According to Churkin, the time has come to reconsider the UK as the responsible nation for the Yemeni dossier, since there are other members set to join the body soon who would be ready to “responsibly and objectively curate the Yemeni issue in the Security Council.”