Norway suspends arms exports to UAE over war in Yemen

 03 Jan 2018 - 20:35

Norway suspends arms exports to UAE over war in Yemen
(FILE PHOTO) People inspect damage at a house after it was destroyed by an air strike in Yemen's capital Sanaa, February 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Al Jazeera

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.

"As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to suspend valid licenses for A-materials (weapons and ammunition) to the UAE," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"This means that no weapons and ammunition shall be exported to the UAE.

"The armed conflict [in Yemen] is serious and there is great concern about the humanitarian situation." 

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

Last year, the country's total arms exports were 2.4 billion Norwegian crowns (roughly $300 million), placing it 17th on the list of the world's biggest arms dealers.