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Money Talks: Spain to ‘Honor’ Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia despite Rights Groups Outcry!

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Local Editor

Just about a week after halting a bombs’ sale to Riyadh following a widespread indignation over Saudi Arabia’s brutal bombing in Yemen, the Spanish government said it would still go ahead with the deal.

“The decision is that these bombs will be delivered to honor a contract that comes from 2015, and was made by the previous government,” the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told Onda Cero radio. He went on to say that the contract was reviewed three times by a commission that authorizes arms sales while several ministries worked on the issue.

“We found no reason not to carry it out,” Borrell said. When asked about any guarantees that the use of the Spanish-produced bombs would not result in casualties among the Yemeni civilians, the minister said that the laser-guided bombs have “extraordinary precision” and, thus, do not “produce the same sort of bombing as less sophisticated weapons … that create the sort of tragedy that we have all condemned.”

The sudden U-turn comes just ten days after the Spanish Defense Ministry confirmed that it already began to cancel a 2015 contract between the two countries for 400 laser-guided bombs, adding that Madrid would pay Riyadh back €9.2 million [$10.6 million] for the undelivered weapons. According to some media reports, Spain eventually decided to proceed with the deal to avoid jeopardizing a bigger arms contract with the Saudis.

The Spanish state-owned shipbuilder Navantia has recently signed a €1.8-billion [$ 2.1-billion] contract to sell five corvettes to Saudi Arabia, according to the Spanish El Pais newspaper.

In one of the most recent high-profile cases, the Saudi-led coalition bombed a school bus, martyring more than  40 children and 11 adults. The strike also left 77 people injured. Human Rights Watch then called the bombing of the school bus an apparent war crime, and urged countries to “immediately halt weapons sales” to Riyadh.

The Saudi-led blockade on Yemen also resulted in shortages of food, medicine, and clean water in what is already the Arab world’s poorest country. Some 22 million Yemenis, including more than 11 million children, are in need of humanitarian assistance, in what the Norwegian Refugee Council last year called a “man-made famine of Biblical proportions.”

Riyadh’s western partners, however, continue to supply Saudi Arabia with weapons.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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