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19 September, 2017

Banning Saudi Arabia from Labour conference hints at Corbyn’s likely tough stance as PM

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to bar Saudi Arabia from his party’s annual conference next week suggests he would not be afraid to cut military and diplomatic ties with the Gulf kingdom over its war on Yemen if he becomes prime minister.

A Labour spokesperson told the Huffington Post on Monday: “Following evidence of war crimes committed by Saudi Arabia in its bombing campaign in Yemen and other large scale human rights abuses, the NEC [National Executive Committee] agreed that the embassy’s application to attend the Labour Party conference would not be accepted.

Labour also barred Sudan from the conference, which begins next Sunday in Brighton.

In response, the London office of the League of Arab States wrote to Labour MPs and peers to tell them a reception and dinner hosted by Arab ambassadors would be canceled. “Unfortunately, the council of Arab Ambassadors has taken the decision to cancel its annual reception and buffet dinner,” the letter read.

Our council has decided to refrain from attending the Labour Party conference this year due to rejection of both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Sudan’s application to attend the conference.

Corbyn’s stand comes in sharp contrast with that of Theresa May’s government. The Tories have failed to criticize the Saudi government for potential war crimes, and has sold its military £3.6 billion (S4.87 billion) in weaponry that may have been used in its campaign in Yemen.

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