Spain reverses its decision to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia

In September 2018, Spain halted the sale of 400 laser-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia amid concerns about their use in the conflict in Yemen. According to the UN, the war has left more than 10,000 people and left 8.4 million on the brink of famine. The Spanish government however ultimately reversed its decision saying "these bombs will be delivered to honour a contract that comes from 2015 and was made by the previous government."

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has compiled media reports about the deal below.

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Article
13 September 2018

Spain makes U-turn, will now sell 400 missiles to Saudi Arabia

Author: Aljazeera

The Spanish government reversed its decision to scrap a deal to sell 400 laser-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia, despite earlier reservations the hi-tech weapons may kill civilians in Yemen's devastating war. Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said on Thursday the deal will now go ahead, a week after it was halted. "The decision is that these bombs will be delivered to honour a contract that comes from 2015 and was made by the previous government," Borrell told Spanish radio station Onda Cero, adding the sale had been reviewed three times. "We found no reason not to carry it out." "It is truly a shameful decision, instead of sending a red light to end mass slaughter in Yemen, Spain is changing that to green light to continue indiscriminate killing of civilians and targeting of civilians areas like hospitals and school and most recently a school bus full of Yemeni children," Kate Gould, the Legislative Representative for Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), told Al Jazeera... Last week's announcement that the deal was done received praise from human rights groups opposed to the international arms trade, including Amnesty International and the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade. Spain is the fourth-largest provider of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, according to Amnesty.

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Article
10 September 2018

Spain cancels arms sale to Saudi Arabia amid concerns of war crimes in Yemen

Author: Reuters

"Spain confirms it has halted sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia", 4 September 2018

Spain has halted the sale of a shipment of bombs to Saudi Arabia amid concerns about their use in the conflict in Yemen, the Spanish Defence Ministry... Amnesty International and other human rights groups have denounced Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies in a war which the United Nations says has killed more than 10,000 people and left 8.4 million on the brink of famine. Spanish broadcaster Cadena Ser reported the Defence Ministry had started a process to cancel a contract signed between Spain's former government and the Gulf Arab state in 2015 to sell 400 laser-guided bombs. The broadcaster said the bombs would have been used in Yemen, where U.N. human rights experts have said air strikes by the Saudi-led coalition have caused heavy civilian casualties and some may amount to war crimes... In April, Spain signed a framework agreement to sell warships to Saudi Arabia in a deal estimated to be worth around 1.8 billion euros. The United States and Britain are amongst the main foreign arms suppliers to the Saudi-led coalition fighting to reinstate the internationally-recognized government that was ousted from the capital Sanaa by Iranian-aligned Houthi rebels in 2015.

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