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Saudi Arabia: Arms Trade

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL1542, tabled on 12 September 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government what guarantees, if any, they sought from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Abdel al-Jubeir, when he visited London on 4 September, that British arms sales to Saudi Arabia will only be used in accordance with international humanitarian law.

Answered on

27 September 2017

During his visit to London on 4-5 September, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir had meetings with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. Both raised the importance of Coalition compliance with their international humanitarian law obligations.

The UK Government takes its arms export licensing responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. Our defence exports to Saudi Arabia are kept under careful and continual review to ensure they meet the rigorous standards of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application.

We welcomed the High Court’s ruling in July this year that UK Government decisions on arms export licensing to Saudi Arabia are lawful. The judgment stated the Government was rationally entitled to conclude that Saudi Arabia has been, and remains, genuinely committed to compliance with international humanitarian law. We note the application to appeal and will continue to defend the decisions challenged.