Mark Pritchard questions Foreign Secretary on British forces technical assistance to Saudi regime

21st November 2018

Mark Pritchard seeks assurance from the Foreign Secretary that any technical assistance given to the Saudi regime by British forces will not result in them being dragged into any future investigations of alleged war crimes.

The Foreign Secretary knows that Her Majesty’s armed forces always act with the highest professionalism and integrity, but how confident is he that when alleged war crimes—breaches of the laws of war, of international humanitarian law and of international law—are investigated in the future, the technical assistance given to the Saudi regime by Her Majesty’s armed forces will not drag them into accusations of complicity in such actions?

In this specific case, I reassure my hon. Friend that our armed forces are not involved at an operational level in the activities of the Saudi coalition to the extent that he suggests. Because of our commercial relationship with Saudi Arabia, however, we are very actively monitoring its compliance with international humanitarian law. We have a lot of contact with the Saudis about that and we raise regular concerns when we think things are going wrong.