Norway suspends arms exports to UAE over war in Yemen

Foreign Ministry says it has suspended weapons and ammunition over concerns they could be used in the war in Yemen.

Girls attend a class at their school, damaged by a recent Saudi-led air strike, in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah
The conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced three million, according to the UN [Abduljabbar Zeyad/Reuters]

Norway has suspended exports of weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over concerns they could be used in the war in Yemen, the country’s foreign ministry has told Al Jazeera.

The Scandinavian country said while there was no evidence Norwegian-made ammunition had been used in the devastating conflict, which is nearing three years, there was a high risk related to the UAE’s military involvement there.

The UAE is part of a Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels that control the capital, Sanaa, and much of the country’s north.

The coalition launched a massive aerial campaign against the rebels in March 2015, aimed at restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Since then, the UN says more than 60,000 people have been killed or wounded, and another three million displaced.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided, as a precautionary measure, to suspend licences that have already been issued for the export of Category A defence-related products to the UAE,” the ministry said in a statement.

“This means that no arms or ammunition can be exported to the UAE.

“The armed conflict in Yemen has escalated since autumn 2017, and there are major concerns about the humanitarian situation.” 

In 2016, Norwegian exports of weapons and ammunition to the UAE rose to 79 million Norwegian crowns ($9.7m) from 41 million in 2015, Statistics Norway data showed.

The country’s total arms exports were 1.9 billion Norwegian crowns (roughly $235m), placing it 17th on the list of the world’s biggest arms dealers.

Source: Al Jazeera