RNA - Emily Thornberry, who serves as shadow foreign secretary in the British parliament, said Tuesday that the government had failed to act on the issue of Jamal Khashoggi, a US-based Saudi journalist who was brutally killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
During a debate in the House of Commons, Thornberry said the Foreign Office (foreign ministry) was even trying to protect the Saudis from punitive actions by other countries.
She criticized Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for his comments during a recent visit to Berlin where he criticized Germany for its ban on arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
“There are no official answers and there are no official actions” on Khashoggi murder, Thornberry said, while criticizing Hunt’s call on “one of the few governments who are ready to act on Khashoggi by banning the arm sales to Yemen” and him telling them “they were wrong to do so”.
Hunt to head to Riyadh
Responding to Thornberry, Britain’s minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field said that Hunt will be in Riyadh this week for unspecified talks a he tries to raise the case of Khashoggi’s death with Saudi officials.
“The Foreign Secretary is going to Saudi this week and I hope there will be progress,” Field told Thornberry.
Britain has been accused of doing almost nothing other than imposing a series of travel bans on Saudi officials suspected in Khashoggi’s case to pressure Riyadh over the death of the journalist. London has been a main supplier of weapons and arms to Riyadh especially since the Saudis launched an all-out war on their southern neighbor Yemen in March 2015.
Hunt was in Berlin last week to criticize the Germans for their bans on Saudi arms sale.
He said during the trip that he was not content with the decision which came as a direct response to Khashoggi’s murder, adding that arms sales to Saudi Arabia were important to have a political influence on Riyadh.
“When I talk to [German Foreign Minister] Heiko Maas what I say is that strategic relationship that the UK has with Saudi Arabia is what allows us to have a huge influence,” said Hunt.