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Spain, Saudi sign $991m defence deal

Activists come together together to condemn exporting arms to Saudi Arabia on 9 September 2017, a few days before the DSEI Arms Export was due to take place in London, UK [Alisdare Hickson/Flickr]
Activists come together together to condemn exporting arms to Saudi Arabia on 9 September 2017 [Alisdare Hickson/Flickr]

Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia signed a $991 million deal to adapt Navantia's combat management systems for Saudi navy corvette ships.

An announcement, reported by the Saudi state news agency SPA, said the contract was signed earlier in the week at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2019 exhibition at London's ExCeL .

The collaboration on Combat System Integration (CSI) on the Saudi navy's Avante 2200 corvettes is thought to be part of the kingdom's modernisation programme, Vision 2030, which will have the "potential to boost the localisation of the Kingdom's technology capabilities by up to 60% and benefit other Saudi organizations", SPA reported.

Last month, OilPrice stated that Saudi Arabia plans to boost the capacity of its East-West pipeline in order for its oil exports to bypass the critical Strait of Hormuz which has seen a number of attacks on oil tankers which are passing through it.

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The SAMI-Navantia joint venture comes at a time of growing criticism of the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen and the supply of arms by Western states, including the US, France and the UK – who all may be complicit in "war crimes", according to a UN report.

A High Court judgement which has since been set aside on appeal deemed UK arms exports to Saudi Arabia "unlawful" in a conflict which has claimed almost 100,000 lives.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (Acled) documented 4,500 incidents in which civilians have been targeted leading to 11,700 deaths. It also found that the Saudi-led coalition is responsible for 67 per cent of fatalities and the Houthis and their allies for over 16 per cent.

Europe & RussiaMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaSpainUKYemen
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