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France MPs call for details of UAE base in Yemen

French parliament yesterday called on Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian to answer questions about the alleged existence of a UAE-built military base and detention centre in the vicinity of a gas production site in Yemen run by the French oil company Total.

In an open letter, 51 lawmakers expressed their concern over the “exploitation of the Yemeni Balhaf factory in a way that violates the international laws and agreements that regulate the law of war.”

The inquiry came following a recent article by local Le Monde that has revealed a number of violations carried by UAE forces in the oil field. The site, which was shut in 2015 due to the ongoing war, is said to inject the war torn country with 45 per cent of its tax revenues.

The newspaper added that the director of the main hospital in the region confirmed that the detention centre was active in early 2020, and that the hospital had received former detainees coming from it, with signs of torture.

Neither the French foreign ministry nor the UAE commented on the inquiry. But the lawmakers pointed out that an Emirati official had last year noted the existence of “a temporary arrest cell at the Balhaf site.”

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