Published — 14 October, 2020

Saudi Arabia arms exports


Thank you for contacting me regarding military exports to Saudi Arabia.

I fully appreciate your concerns about military exports to Saudi Arabia.  I want to reassure you that in accordance with the Court of Appeal’s judgement in June last year, the Secretary of State for International Trade has now retaken licensing decisions regarding military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen on the correct legal basis.

New licence applications will be assessed against a revised methodology, which evaluates whether there is a clear risk that the equipment might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law.  On this basis, I understand Ministers are now in a position to begin the process of addressing licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners again.

I have been assured that each application will be carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and that a licence will not be granted if to do so would be a breach of the criteria.

Regarding Yemen, I am deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis.  I fully support the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and the UN Special Envoy’s call for all parties to engage in urgent political talks and de-escalate the conflict.

UK support to Yemen since the beginning of the conflict now totals nearly £1 billion and I strongly welcome the Government’s latest announcement of a £160 million aid package to support Yemen’s health services in the fight against Coronavirus and prevent a worsening of the humanitarian crisis.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.