Spain Scraps Sale of 400 Laser-guided Bombs to KSA
Madrid has cancelled the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia for fear that the arsenal could be used in the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
The announcement was made Tuesday by the Spanish Ministry of Defense, which said that the government decided to halt a military deal under which Spain was to supply 400 laser-guided bombs to the Gulf powerhouse.
Radio Cadena SER, which confirmed the cancellation, said it comes after a bombing in Yemen killed at least 66 children during raids in August.
This carnage sparked a wave of international reprobation. The UN Security Council called for a “credible and transparent” investigation.
According to Cadena SER, the government of socialist Pedro Sanchez, who came to power early June, started in July the procedure to cancel the contract signed in the summer of 2015 under his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy.
The defense ministry also announced that it will return the $10.6m installment received part of the deal.
The ministry said last month it had never sold arms that could be used against a civilian population and condemned the killing of non-combatants in Yemen, Al Jazeera reports.
The new Spanish administration has vowed to review military contracts signed by its predecessor.
Madrid has gone under criticism by rights groups that have accused it of supporting the Saudi-led coalition, which intervened in Yemen in 2015, in a move to roll back gains of Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
According to Amnesty International, Spain, Saudi Arabia’s fifth largest arm supplier, the U.S.A., and the UK have provided munitions and advice to the Saudi-led coalition.
AI castigated these western countries noting that the munitions “have been used in attacks against hospitals, homes, and markets time and time again”.
The Tuesday decision by the Spanish government followed similar moves by Sweden, Germany, Finland, Norway and Belgium to suspend the sale of arms that could be used in the Yemeni war, Middle East Eye reports.
Over 10,000 people, mostly civilians, have died in the Yemeni conflict that caused the worst humanitarian crisis in the world according to the UN.