The Netherlands announced today that it will cease arms exports to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt in protest against the use of the weapons in Yemen.
“There will be no arms exports from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE unless it is proven that they will not be used in the Yemen war,” said Dutch Foreign Trade and Development Minister Sigrid Kaag.
The official said the Dutch government has tightened its conditions on arms exports in order to prevent their use in the war in Yemen.
She pointed out that the “restrictive conditions for the export of weapons applied to Saudi Arabia” has been expanded to include Egypt and the UAE.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are part of an Arab coalition fighting in Yemen against the Iran-backed Houthis and forces loyal to ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh. The coalition entered the war in 2015 to reinstate the UN-backed President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. However the UAE has been found to be backing the Southern Transitional Council in an effort to split Yemen in to two countries, North and South, contrary to the objectives of the coalition.
According to UN officials, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the war, while more than 11 per cent of the country’s population has been displaced.
Rights groups have long called for Western countries to cease arms sales to the UAE and Saudi saying they are used to strike civilians in Yemen.
In a joint statement released earlier this week, OXFAM, Care, the International Rescue Committee, Save the Children and the Norwegian refugee Council called for America to halt its military support for the Gulf states as this is leading to the famine in the war torn country.
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Less than a month after Germany authorized a shipment of arms to Saudi Arabia and several of its allies, in violation of an arms-sales ban approved by lawmakers from the country's ruling coalition earlier this year, Germany has once again decided to "punish" the Saudis by putting future arms shipments on hold pending the results of an investigation into the death of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
UAE businessman Abbas Ibrahim Yousef Al Yousef told the International Court of Arbitration in 2010 that he successfully lobbied ‘highest-level German decision-makers’ to ease their restrictions on arms sales to the Middle-East, a document published by Wikileaks reveals. The LeClerc tanks that Al Yousef helped to export are currently being used in the onslaught of Yemen by the Saudi coalition.
A recent law allows one-size-fits-most-allies contracts, the U.S. military’s head weapons buyer explains.
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