Plaid Cymru’s Ynys Môn Assembly Member Rhun ap Iorwerth has today urged Welsh Government to condemn the use of RAF Valley as a training base for Saudi Arabian Air Force pilots.
In response to a question by Plaid Cymru in Westminster last week, it was revealed that Saudi pilots are being trained at the RAF base on Anglesey and Mr ap Iorwerth argued in the Assembly Chamber today that it is wholly inappropriate to welcome pilots from the Saudi Air Force to Valley for training, given Saudi Arabia’s role in the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding due to the war in Yemen.
Human Rights Organisation Amnesty International recently revealed that over 30 air strikes resulting in 513 civilian deaths – including at least 150 children – have been conducted by the Saudi Arabian-led coalition that appear to have violated international humanitarian law.
The UK Government has strong military links with the Saudi regime, with the British Government selling £1.13bn worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in 2017, despite it being embroiled in the bloody conflict in Yemen, and today the Ynys Môn AM urged Welsh Government to speak out against the use of RAF Valley as a training base for Saudi pilots.
“RAF Valley is a Centre of Excellence for training Air Force pilots in Britain, and it is also a centre where pilots from other countries do spend time on occasion as we know, but in response to a question by Plaid Cymru in Westminster last week the Defence Minister confirmed that Saudi Arabian pilots are being trained there at present.
“When considering the significant moral questions that are raised regarding this revelation in light of Saudi Arabia’s activities internationally at the moment, it is wholly inappropriate to welcome pilots from the Saudi Air Force to RAF Valley for training.
“The role the Saudi Air Force is playing in attacking Yemen has created a horrific humanitarian crisis. Whilst humanitarian forces have been trying to respond and provide aid to those affected by the war, many innocent men, women and children have been killed by air strikes.
“Amnesty International said recently that they have recorded 36 air strikes by the Saudi Air Force in Yemen which go against international humanitarian law, including strikes on hospitals and schools, and I urge Welsh Government to condemn the use of RAF Valley for the purpose of training pilots who are later carrying out these horrific attacks.”