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Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL5160, tabled on 18 January 2016

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the legal opinion issued by Philippe Sands QC concerning alleged violation of national, European and international arms transfer control law by their continued authorisation of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, especially in the context of their alleged use in Yemen; and what action they are taking in this regard.

Answered on

27 January 2016

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of this legal opinion provided on instructions from certain non-governmental organisations. In accordance with long standing Government policy we do not disclose legal advice given or received, and it would not be appropriate to discuss any potential or ongoing litigation matters. The UK operates one of the most rigorous and transparent arms export control regimes in the world. All arms export licence applications are carefully assessed on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account all relevant information, to ensure compliance with our legal obligations, including under international law. A licence will not be issued for any country if to do so would be inconsistent with any provision of the mandatory Criteria. This includes the export of arms to Saudi Arabia.