The Government defends the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia

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The Government defends the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia


This has been assured by Méndez Bértolo before the Defense Commission of Congress, where he has appeared to account for the reports on the export of defense material and dual use for 2018 and 2019. In those years, Spain sold this type of material to Arabia Saudi worth 270 million euros.

License renewal

In addition, the Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry recalled that Navantia must request authorization again for the departure to Saudi Arabia of the first of the five corvettes that Navantia is building for the Saudi Navy and whose delivery is scheduled for October 2021.

As detailed, the shipyard has not yet submitted a final license application. Although in 2015 the Government of Mariano Rajoy reported “favorably” the “prior export agreement”, that authorization has expired, so Navantia will have to ask for “a new authorization”.

As it is destined for a “sensitive” country, it will be analyzed “with all rigor”, indicated Méndez Bértolo, who stressed the importance of the contract for the five corvettes for the Spanish shipyard, which is around 1,800 million euros.

In addition, the Secretary of State for Commerce has denied that the Pedro Sánchez government has had a “change in criteria” regarding the export of defense and dual-use material to Saudi Arabia.

Bildu deputy Jon Iñarritu had asked for explanations for the fact that the Government of Pedro Sánchez multiplied by 30 the authorizations for exports of this material to this country in 2019 compared to the previous year. “Saudi Arabia should not be sold even a Toledo sword, because it would use it to behead,” he said.

Roberto Uriarte, of Unidas Podemos, had also been interested in this issue after highlighting that in 2018 the Executive had ‘turned off the tap’ of the arms sale to Saudi Arabia to reactivate it later.

There has been no change in criteria

There has been no change in criteria or a shift in the export policy to any country of the Arab League Coalition, “emphasized Méndez Bértolo, who mentioned Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. What has taken place, as he has highlighted, has been” scrupulous compliance “with the law in the analysis of each of the exports that have been studied taking into account the situation of these countries in a “contextualized” way.

In this context, he stressed that the Spanish export control regulations are “at the forefront” and that, in any case, whether the Secretary of State for Trade or the Interministerial Board for Trade and Control of Defense Material and Technology Dual Use (JIMDDU) appreciated “reasonable indications of diversion of exported or exportable material” authorizations to Saudi Arabia could “be suspended or revoked”.

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