Yemen says France complicit in war crimes over arms sales to Saudis
A senior Yemeni official has condemned France over its collaboration with Saudi Arabia in the devastating war on Yemen as French President Emmanuel Macron visits Persian Gulf Arab countries and signs lucrative arms deals.
Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen, made the criticism in a post on his Twitter account early Saturday, a day after 18 people were killed and several others injured in Saudi airstrikes on a residential area in Yemen’s southwestern Ta’izz Province.
He made the remarks as Macron started an official two-day tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar and Saudi Arabia on Friday.
“We condemn the move by the French president, who - through his trip to Saudi Arabia - caused the killing of civilians and children in Ta’izz’s Muqbana district,” Houthi said.
"We remind him that his requests to European countries to continue selling arms to the aggressor Saudi coalition, in which he also participates, amount to war crimes in Yemen.”
The UAE ordered 80 Rafale fighter jets and 12 military helicopters from France as part of the $19 billion deal signed during Macron’s visit.
The deal was announced in a statement from the French presidency following a meeting between Macron and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the sidelines of the Dubai Expo 2020.
The French president traveled to Saudi Arabia Saturday, becoming the first major Western leader to visit the country since the murder of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
Macron was to meet the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is widely believed to have ordered the murder and has moved to crush any dissent.
Khashoggi's murder sparked international outrage that continues to reverberate. But Macron said it was impossible to engage with the region while ignoring Saudi Arabia.