UK Arms Sale Licenses to Saudi Arabia Total $4Bln in 1 Year
16:35 19.04.2016(updated 16:36 19.04.2016)
The United Kingdom has issued 2.8 billion pounds ($4 billion) worth of arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia in a little over a year since Riyadh launched airstrikes against rebels in Yemen, British media reported Tuesday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The British government issued 122 military licenses to Saudi Arabia since March 2015, The Guardian daily reported, citing figures released by the UK government. London's arms exports to Riyadh amount to the equivalent of $9.6 billion since 2010.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia began airstrikes against Houthi rebels from the Shiite Ansar Allah movement in Yemen as part of its Operation Decisive Storm on March 26, 2015. Peace talks that were meant to begin on Monday teetered on the verge of collapse behind the Houthis' failure to arrive in Kuwait and regular violations of a ceasefire in effect since April 10.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron's administration has been accused of increasing weapons supplies to Riyadh as it boosted imports nearly threefold over the past five years.
In January, the UK government's arms sales statistics demonstrated that British arms companies had increased their sales to Saudi Arabia by more than 100 times over the course of last year – from contracts worth almost $13 million in April-June 2015 to $1.43 billion in July-September.
London issued $10 million worth of arms sales licenses to Riyadh in the last three months of 2015, according to the latest reported data.
The UK Defense Ministry, in a July 2015 letter to the House of Lords on the amount of assistance being provided by the United Kingdom to Riyadh in its anti-Houthi campaign in Yemen, said that the country was providing precision-guided weapons and technical support to the Saudi Air Force "as part of pre-existing arrangements."
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