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Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia

Question for Department for International Trade

UIN HL15059, tabled on 3 April 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme Yemen—Britain's Hidden War that UK contractors have supplied arms that were used in the war in Yemen; what reasons were stated in export licence applications submitted by Saudi Arabia, BAE Systems plc, or any intermediary, for the supply and use of weaponry; and what criteria they use to assess and approve each application.

Answered on

17 April 2019

All arms supplied by UK companies to Saudi Arabia require an export licence. We assess each export licence application very carefully against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (the Consolidated Criteria).

The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework and require us to think hard about the impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. These are not decisions we take lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

The key test for assessing military exports to Saudi Arabia is Criterion 2(c) of the Consolidated Criteria – whether there is a clear risk that the exports might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

When considering export licence applications, we take into account a wide range of sources and analyses, including reports from non-governmental organisations and the United Nations, as well as those of a sensitive nature to which these parties do not have access. This provides a comprehensive basis on which Government can take informed decisions about export licence applications.

Answered by

Department for International Trade