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Government Tighten Checks on Exports to Saudi Arabia

In a letter to the Committees on Arms Export Controls, Liz Truss confirms extra compliance processes for export licences relating to Saudi Arabia and its Coalition Partners

Published on 17 September 2019



Yesterday, September 16, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss, wrote to the Chairman of the Committees on Arms Export Controls to confirm "two inadvertent breaches of the undertaking given to the Court [of Appeal] by the Secretary of State in the Order of the Court dated 20 June 2019, that we would not 'grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen".

Explaining the breaches, the Secretary of State wrote that "Having become aware on 9 September 2019 of the risk that equipment destined for the RSLF (Royal Saudi Land Forces) might be used in the conflict in Yemen, I have taken immediate steps to identify whether any other licences have been granted which might be in breach of the undertaking. A preliminary review of the 183 licences issued for exports to Saudi Arabia and/or its Coalition partners since the Court’s judgment indicates that two further licences have been granted for the export of equipment for which the end user is the RSLF".

The Secretary of State goes on to explain that she has for a "full investigation" to "(i) establish the precise circumstances in which these licences were granted; (ii) establish whether any other licences have been granted in breach of the undertaking to the Court or the commitment to Parliament; and (iii) confirm that procedures are in place to ensure that no further such breaches can occur." During this investigation, "all decisions made on licences for the export of military goods to KSA and its Coalition partners will be subject to additional compliance processes toensure that no further licences are issued in error for possible use in the conflict in Yemen."

For further Government issued details on trade with Saudi Arabia, go to https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/department-for-international-trade-saudi-arabia

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