Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade:Written question - HL4113

Asked on: 14 December 2016
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the decision by the government of the United States not to proceed with a number of munitions sales to Saudi Arabia, whether they intend to cancel planned weapons sales; what is the value of UK sales of arms to Saudi Arabia which have been licensed since March; and whether they have sought legal advice about potential UK complicity in war crimes as a consequence of armaments originating in the UK being used by Saudi Arabia against civilians in that country and elsewhere.
Answered on: 23 December 2016

As the Secretary of State for Defence, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Sevenoaks (Michael Fallon) said in his statement on Monday 19 December, we operate one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world – we have our own robust evidence-based process and reach our own conclusions.

The UK takes our arms export responsibilities very seriously. The key test for our continued arms exports to Saudi Arabia is whether there is a clear risk that the items concerned might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law. The situation is kept under careful and continual review.

The US continues to export a wide range of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, including combat aircraft and attack helicopters and munitions. In response to concerns over certain elements of the conflict in Yemen, the US announced a single upcoming munitions sale would not be taken forward. We are in contact with US authorities on this issue.

Statistics on licences for the export of strategic goods are published on a quarterly basis. The most recent published figures cover March – June 2016. In this period the value of standard individual export licences which were granted for military goods to Saudi Arabia was worth £6,235,378.

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