Campaigners welcome German government decision to continue Saudi arms embargo

By agency reporter
February 22, 2019

Campaign Against Arms Trade has welcomed the German Government’s decision to continue its arms embargo against Saudi Arabia. The ban on arms sales was put in place in 2018, following the escalation of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

This week it was revealed that the Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, wrote to the German Government urging it to lift the ban.

Since the bombing of Yemen began in March 2015, the UK has licensed £4.6 billion worth of arms to the Saudi regime, including:

  • £2.7 billion worth of ML10 licences (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
  • £1.9 billion worth of ML4 licences (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

In reality, the figures could be a great deal higher, with most bombs and missiles being licensed via the opaque and secretive Open Licence system.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: "It is totally inappropriate for Jeremy Hunt to use his position in this way. He is meant to be a statesman, not a lobbyist for arms companies and the Saudi dictatorship.

"The humanitarian crisis in Yemen is the worst in the world. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in this brutal and devastating war, and yet the main goal for the UK Government and the Foreign Secretary has been to maximise arms sales. That tells us everything we need to know about their priorities.

"Germany should never have been arming Saudi forces in the first place, but it has done the right thing by ending the sales. If Jeremy Hunt, Theresa May and their colleagues want to do the right thing for the people of Yemen then they must follow Germany's lead."

* Campaign Against Arms Trade https://www.caat.org.uk/

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