Yemen civil war: Norway suspends arms sales to UAE as part of ‘precautionary line’

There is "great concern" over the humanitarian crisis in the Arab world's poorest country, says Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide

Jan M. Olsen
Wednesday 03 January 2018 19:56 GMT
The war in Yemen started almost three years ago and has lead to the death of thousands
The war in Yemen started almost three years ago and has lead to the death of thousands (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)

Norway has suspended exports of munitions and arms to the United Arab Emirates as a "precautionary line," based on its assessment of the situation in Yemen.

A Saudi-led coalition including the UAE has been fighting Shia rebels in the country for nearly three years.

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said she had "no information" that any of Norway's military exports have been used in Yemen, but that there's "great concern" over the humanitarian crisis there.

The Emirati government offered no immediate comment on Norway's decision.

The Saudi-backed coalition and an internationally recognised government have been at war with the rebels, known as Houthis, since March 2015.

It has made little progress amid a bloody stalemate, with the Iran-allied rebels still in firm control of the capital, Sanaa and much of the north.

The fighting has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced 3 million and fuelled a cholera epidemic in the Arab world's poorest country.

Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang published a video by the Houthis, in which they claim to have seized "a US spy submarine."

The report said it was a REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle made by Norway's Kongsberg group.

There was no comment from Kongsberg or from the Saudi-led coalition. It was also not clear when the sub was purportedly seized.

Eriksen Soreide said Norway has allowed the sale of weapons and ammunition to the UAE since 2010. The decision to suspend sales for so-called A-material — munitions and arms— was made 19 December, but only announced this week.

Norwegian news agency NTB said Norway's exports of weapons, munitions and other military equipment to the UAE were worth more than 100 million kroner (£9m) in 2016.

Line Hegna, of Norway's chapter of the international aid group Save the Children, said the decision was "important and the right thing to do."

"The decision taken by the Norwegian government can act as an example for other exporting nations to act responsibly in the face of repeated violations of international humanitarian law," she said in a statement.


Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in