European countries have approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE worth more than $86.7 billion since 2015, according to figures compiled by leading online news outlet Middle East Eye.
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): European countries have approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE worth more than $86.7 billion since 2015, according to figures compiled by leading online news outlet Middle East Eye.
Their contribution in aid to the impoverished nation which faces a devastating Saudi war and blockade amounts to just two percent of their revenues from the arms sales, it reported on Monday.
The value of the licenses which the countries issued in 2015 and 2016 - the only years for which arms exports reports are available - amount to over 55 times what they have donated to the UN’s Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, which is underfunded.
Calls for a suspension of arms sales to Riyadh and its allies have increased, especially after the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last month.
Many governments have promised to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, but only Germany has suspended its sales until clear explanations are made about the murder. The UK, France and Spain have all signaled that they will continue business as usual.
“The UK and many of its EU allies insist there is no military solution to the conflict, yet they themselves are supplying the weapons that are fueling and prolonging the hostilities,” said Ben Donaldson, head of campaigns at the United Nations Association-UK, a grassroots policy group.
“There has just been one UN Security Council resolution in three years of conflict, which is very surprising given its severity compared to other conflicts, and the UK is taking sides in the conflict, which flies against its position of ‘penholder’ and its responsibility. The UK’s position is to support Saudi Arabia,” Donaldson added.
Almost all EU countries have exported arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2015 and 2016, the report said.
The report said 21 EU countries approved licenses for the export of arms, ranging from bullets and bombs to fighter jets and specialized military components in 2015.
They totaled $25.3 billion to Saudi Arabia and $11.4 billion to the UAE. Of this total, $14.4 billion was for aircraft, bombs and grenades, the primary causes of civilian deaths, the MEE reported.
“In 2016, 17 EU countries licensed the sale of even more weapons worth $18.3 billion to Saudi Arabia and $31.7 billion to the UAE, totaling $50 billion,” the report added.
Arms sales have largely continued at the same rate in 2017, figures provided by individual countries showed.
Based on UN figures, the EU and some European countries have given $1.56 billion to the UN’s response plan since 2015, which amounted to only 1.8 percent of approved European arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015, with the aim of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power.
According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi war has claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis so far.