Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 20th April 2016.

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Photo of Andrew Rosindell Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to monitor the use of military equipment provided by the UK to Saudi Arabia.

Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The UK operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All applications for strategic export control licences for military and dual-use goods are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Criteria), in a manner consistent with the UK’s international obligations. This assessment takes account of all relevant factors at the time of the application, including how the equipment will be used by the end-user. A licence will not be issued for export of items to any country, including Saudi Arabia, if to do so would be inconsistent with any mandatory provision of the Criteria, including where we assess there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL. The Government is satisfied that extant licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the Criteria.

The British Government monitors the situation in Yemen closely, including reports of alleged violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The Ministry of Defence continues to monitor incidents of alleged IHL violations, using available information, which in turn informs our overall assessment of Saudi Arabia’s IHL compliance in Yemen. We consider a range of information from government sources, foreign governments, the media and international non-governmental organisations. We have provided training and advice to Saudi Arabia to support continued compliance with IHL and minimise civilian casualties.

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