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Saudi Arabia defends 'just' Yemen war ahead of Crown Prince's UK visit

Yemenis stand at the site of a Saudi air strike against Huthi rebels near Sanaa Airport on March 26, 2015, which killed at least 13 people
Mohammed Huwais (AFP/File)

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister on Tuesday defended his country's "just" war in Yemen, on the eve of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's controversial visit to Britain.

"They criticize us for a war in Yemen that we did not want, that was imposed on us," Adel Al-Jubeir told BBC Radio 4

"They criticize us for a war in Yemen that is a just war, that is supported by international law," he added. The Saudi Crown Prince is expected in London on Wednesday.

The UK has for decades been a top arms supplier to the oil-rich desert kingdom. 

The trade has boomed under Prime Minister Theresa May's leadership, Sky News reported on Tuesday, citing governments statistics that show the number of "secret" licenses granted to UK business that wish to sell weaponry to Riyadh. 

Far-left protest group Stop the War will hold a rally outside the prime minister's Downing Street residence at 5.00pm local time (1700 GMT) on Wednesday to denounce Saudi Arabia's "brutal and illegal bombing" in Yemen and London's support for the Middle Eastern regime. 

NGO Save the Children will also protest the conflict by placing a life-size statue of a child near parliament "to draw attention to the violence that is being fueled, in part, by British-made bombs."

Turning to Saudi Arabia's "Vision 2030" plan to diversify its oil-reliant economy, Al-Jubeir said that Britain would be a major beneficiary. 

"After Brexit, there will be huge opportunities for Britain as a result of Vision 2030," he told the BBC

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