UK looking to boost security co-operation with Saudi Arabia, says minister

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - The statement came after Britain said it would resume issuing Saudi arms licences

July 8, 2020

July 8, 2020

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The UK is looking to boost security relations and arms exports with Saudi Arabia, British Defence Minister Ben Wallace has said.

Mr Wallace told Saudi Vice Defence Minister Khalid bin Salman during a phone call that he appreciated the role the kingdom played in combating threats to stability in the region, protecting sea lanes and securing navigation, the state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

The call came as the UK said it can again begin to export new arms to the kingdom after complying with a court order governing the decision-making process in the sale of weapons.

The Court of Appeal last year ruled that the UK broke the law in its decision-making processes when selling arms to Saudi Arabia that could have then been used in Yemen. While the order did not prevent the export of arms under existing licences, the government had to pause the granting of new licences for the UK’s largest purchaser of weapons.

Trade Minister Liz Truss said the government has now re-taken those decisions on a "correct legal basis", meaning it could resume issuing licences.

"I have assessed that there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law," she said.

Updated: July 8, 2020 12:56 PM

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