Ship likely carrying Saudi arms flees Spanish port after protest
Iran Press TV
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 8:12 AM
Spanish peace groups have staged a protest at an eastern port against the presence of a Saudi ship they suspect was carrying weapons from the United States to be used in Yemen.
The Saudi owned cargo ship Bahri Abha arrived at Spain's eastern port of Sagunto, Valencia, early Tuesday morning after visiting several ports in the United States, according to Amnesty International.
The Control Arms Coalition of human rights and several other aid groups gathered at the port to protest the ship's presence.
They demanded the Spanish government prohibit the transit and loading in Spain of any weapons.
Port authorities said that the ship had carried out fully legal cargo operations but could not say what the ship was carrying or where it was now headed. They said it left the port early Tuesday morning.
The rights group said it was not clear if the ship was carrying arms in this voyage.
The has carried weapons, mostly military aircraft components – worth $162 million – on eight voyages from the US to the kingdom since Saudi Arabia launched its war against Yemen in 2015, according to the protest organization.
"The Spanish government must intervene to ensure this Saudi Arabian ship is not transporting more deadly cargo that could be used to commit further atrocities in Yemen," said Alberto Estévez, spokesperson for the organization.
"If it is carrying more arms to be used to commit violations of international humanitarian law in Yemen, its transit through Spanish territory violates international law," he added.
Saudi Arabia and a number of its regional allies launched a devastating war against Yemen in March 2015, with the goal of bringing the government of former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi back to power and crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement.
The US-based Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, estimates that the war has claimed more than 100,000 lives over the past four and a half years.
According to Amnesty, over 233,000 people will have been killed as a result of the war or the humanitarian crisis by the end of this year.
Some 14.3 million people are at risk of famine and 24 million, out of a population of 29 million, need humanitarian assistance to survive, the group has said.
While countries across the world are under pressure to prohibit arms sales to Saudi Arabia, the US– the Middle East's top arms supplier – continues providing its oil-rich ally with weapons.
US President Donald Trump, who once described the weapons as America's "beautiful military equipment," vetoed three congressional resolutions against the arms sales to the kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, earlier this year.
On his first trip to Riyadh as the American president, Trump announced an arms deal worth $110 billion with the kingdom.
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