The Spanish government announced Monday that it is canceling a deal with Saudi Arabia to supply 400 precision bombs and return 9.2 million Euros paid by Riyadh amidst apprehensions that the bombs could be used to target civilians in the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.
The attack on August 9 on a bus carrying Yemeni students, which killed 51 people including 40 children, prompted defence minister Margarita Robles to review all arms deals with the Arab kingdom. The bomb sale contract cancelation is said to be the first stage of the revision process, EL Mundo newspaper reported.
Spain is the fourth biggest arms exporter to the Riyadh regime. In one of the most recent contracts, the Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia signed a €1.8-billion deal to sell five small warships to Saudi Arabia.
The deal was signed in April by Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman after his meeting with his then Spanish counterpart Cospedal in Madrid.
The Spanish defense ministry’s decision to halt the arms deal it had earlier signed with Riyadh would open the door to the possibility that Spain would join countries such as Sweden, Canada, Finland, Norway, Belgium or Germany, which have suspended their arms exports to the Saudi-led coalition.
Amnesty International has cited that between 2015 and 2017, Spain exported 1.2 billion euros worth of military equipment to the coalition waging war in Yemen which includes the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
“There is extensive evidence that irresponsible arms flows to the Saudi Arabia-led coalition have resulted in enormous harm to Yemeni civilians. But this has not deterred the USA, the UK and other states, including France, Spain and Italy, from continuing transfers of billions of dollars’ worth of such arms. As well as devastating civilian lives, this makes a mockery of the global Arms Trade Treaty,” a recent report by Amnesty International said.
Saudi Arabia and its allies launched the war on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstall its former Riyadh-allied government. The military aggression has so far killed over 14,000 Yemenis and put millions on the verge of famine. It has also caused a deadly outbreak of cholera.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Abdullah Al-Mouallimi said in New York that legitimate military action was taken on Thursday Aug. 9 when Houthi leaders were targeted in Saada governorate.
Al-Mouallimi was quoted as saying by Saudi Gazzette that the targeted Houthi leaders were responsible for recruiting and training young children and sending them to battlefields. The military action also targeted one of the most prominent weapons trainers and a sniper trainer.
US-made bombs were reportedly been used by the Saudi-led coalition in carrying out a deadly airstrike last week targeting Yemeni school bus in Saada Province, killing at least 51 civilians, mostly children, a local journalist reports. According to a report by RT, journalist Nasser Arrabyee tweeted photos on Saturday showing pieces of a Raytheon Mark 82 general-purpose free-fall bomb apparently recovered from the scene
A day after Yemens Houti rebels launched a missile targeting Riyadh Airport, Saudi-led coalition announced a land, sea and air blockade of Yemen claiming that the missile components had been supplied by Iran. In addition, the coalition announced a combined reward of US$450 million for the arrest of 40 Houti leaders and Iranian individuals it said were responsible for the missile attack and weapons supplies to the rebels
The Royal Saudi Arabian Air Force (RSAF) attacked a missile site in Yemen, hours after it intercepted a ballistic missile launched by the Houti rebels. The official spokesman of coalition forces "Coalition for the Restoration of the Legitimacy of Yemen" Colonel Turki al-Malki, said that at 2203 pm on Saturday, the Saudi Royal Air Force (RAF) discovered the launch of a ballistic missile from within Yemeni territory towards the Saudi city of Khamis Mushait
A Royal Saudi Air Force Typhoon aircraft has reportedly crashed during its combat mission against Houthi fighters over Yemen on Wednesday. The Saudi-led coalition at war in Yemen says the Typhoon warplane crashed into a mountain in Al Wadea district on September 13 killing its pilot identified as Mahna al-Biz, Saba news agency reported
Spain has signed a contract with NH Industries, a consortium of Airbus Helicopters, Leonardo and Fokker to acquire 23 NH90 helicopters that include seven naval versions for an estimated $1.7 billion
Spain has formally expressed interest in joining French-German Next Generation Weapon System, or NGWS project. The Minister of Defense, Margarita Robles has requested the Spanish incorporation be formalized through the signing of a Letter of Intentions (LoI) or a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
Days after Germany announced a freeze on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and urged other European Union members to do the same in view of the Khashoggi murder; Spain, Sweden, UK and France refused to block arms delivery to Riyadh. The Spanish Parliament voted against a proposal blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia Tuesday, according to El Nacional newspaper
Germany announced a freeze in arms sales approvals to Saudi Arabia and urged its fellow European Union members to do the same over Riyadhs admittance that its security team killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Economy and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier told ZDF television that the German government would not approve any new arms sales to Saudi Arabia and would urge other EU member states to follow this example
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