Dawn asks for review into Government arms export licences to Saudi Arabia


To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will undertake an urgent and comprehensive review into British arms export licences to Saudi Arabia.

Answer by Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The UK Government is satisfied that export licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK's export licencing criteria. The Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. The Government routinely keeps factors relevant to the licensing of arms exports under active review, and Ministers are consulted in the event of any significant changes in the circumstances relating to UK-licensed exports to ensure that licences comply with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Since the outset of the conflict in Yemen the Government has kept all extant licences and new licensing to Saudi Arabia under continuous review, and has exercised special caution and vigilance in granting new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia, handling each on a case-by-case basis. The conflict in Yemen is being monitored closely, and that monitoring is taken into account as part of the careful risk assessment for exports to Saudi Arabia.

Answered on: 07 March 2016


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