Norway freezes exports to Saudi Arabia

Kongsberg AUV Saudi Arabia B-MaterialThe Hugin AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, named after one of Odin's ravens) is suited for civilian and military use and have great manoeuvrability and high accuracy of stabilisation according to Kongsberg. It is categorized as so-called B-material in military terms. Photo: The Kongsberg Group.

Norway freezes all military exports to Saudi Arabia

Norway will no longer issue licenses for exports of any defence-related equipment to Saudi Arabia, according to the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ine Eriksen Søreide (Conservatives), expanding the prohibition on such sales.

 

Exporting Norwegian weapons and ammunition to Saudi Arabia is not permitted as Norway on principle does not export to countries at war. As of now, the Norwegian Government will not issue new licenses for the export of defence-related equipment, AKA B-material, either.

– The Government has decided that, in the current situation, licenses will not be granted for exports of other types of military or multi-use equipment to Saudi Arabia either. We stopped processing applications some time ago pending this decision, Eriksen Søreide writes in an email to NTB.

Yemen and Khashoggi

– The reason for this measure is a comprehensive assessment of recent developments in both Saudi Arabia and the region as such, and the unsettling situation in Yemen, she adds.

During the past year, B-material has been sold for more than NOK 41 million to Saudi Arabia, mostly by the Kongsberg Group. This is an immense increase from NOK 23,000 in 2016.

Several relief agencies and opposition parties have recently demanded that Norway cease exports of B-material to the fundamentalist oil Kingdom ruled by the Saudi family. This is due both to the war in Yemen and the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, despite the authorities’ denial of any responsibility to the assassination.

Halts tanking of aircraft

The United States will no longer fuel aircraft participating in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, Washington Post writes.

The curtailment of the United States contribution comes at the same time as the international responses to Saudi Arabia’s war in the neighbouring country increases. The increased international reaction is due to a number of air attacks involving tens of civilians – including children – being killed.

Pentagon is unwilling to comment on the article in Washington Post.

– We are in continuous dialogue with the Saudi’s. We have nothing to report other than that, Press Officer Rebecca Rebarich states.

Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Press Agency publishes a statement saying that the country had increased its own capacity to refuel in the air. Further stating that they, in conjunction with the USA, has requested a halt of the current agreement.

US Minister of Defence, Jim Mattis, issues a response stating that they support this decision.

20 per cent

The United States is currently contributing with refuelling of 20 per cent of the coalition aircraft making sorties over Yemen. In August, Mattis said that US support «is not unconditional» and further: «(the coalition must) do all that is within their power to prevent loss of civilian lives.» Mattis surprised last month by calling for a ceasefire and peace talks within 30 days. The UN has subsequently extended the deadline to year’s end.

The United States regards Saudi Arabia as being an important ally in the region, not least as a counterforce to influence by Iran. The criticism of US support for the totalitarian regime in Saudi Arabia has been increased after the brutal assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, widely believed to be linked to the Saudi Crown Prince, Salman.

 

© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today

 

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