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Finland suspends arms exports to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Finnish Prime Minster Juha Sipilä

Finland announced late yesterday that it would impose a ban on the issuance of any new licenses to sell arms to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as a result of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and their role in the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

The announcement comes after similar decisions were issued by Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

The Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila told Olesa Radio: “The situation in Yemen caused this decision, but of course [Khashoggi’s murder] was part of the general rationale.”A Saudi-led military coalition, in which the UAE is an active member, has been fighting a bloody war in Yemen, while Saudi Arabia says it has supported the internationally backed government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, UN investigators accuse the two Gulf states of possible war crimes, including killing thousands of civilians, torturing prisoners, and recruiting children.

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In September, the News Now Finland news website revealed video evidence showing the use of armour made in Finland on some heavy Russian weaponry which is  used in western Yemen.

Finland sold €5.3 million ($6 million) of arms to Saudi in 2017,  according to the research centre Saferworld.

Sipila described the situation in Yemen as “disastrous”. He said that “any licenses which already exist [to export arms] are old, and under the current circumstances, we will certainly not be able to grant any new licenses.”

Unlike Finland, the German ban, announced in October, included the withdrawal of licenses originally issued to Saudi Arabia.

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