Saudi Arabia: The United Kingdom Has Suspended New Arms Sales to the Saudi-led Coalition Fighting in the Yemen War


On Tuesday 25 June 2019, the Department for International Trade of the British government has announced in a notice  that the United Kingdom “will not grant any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners (UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt) which might be used in the conflict in Yemen.”

This decision will not affect the licences which have been previously approved and are still in effect. Furthermore, the ruling of the Court of Appeal of London does not necessarily imply a permanent end to future sales, even if new registrations for six export licences have been already stopped.

As the Financial Times has pointed out, BAE Systems, UK’s most important arms company, could undergo serious economic repercussions, for “Riyadh represents about 15 per cent of BAE’s annual group earnings and is responsible for its biggest single export contract.”

The European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights (ECDHR) welcomes the decision of the British government. It can be an outstanding first step towards a total ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the other countries of the Gulf Region, which would change the course of the war in Yemen.