Suspension of export licences to the United Arab Emirates

On the basis of a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Yemen and the increasing risks associated with the United Arab Emirates’ military engagement in the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided on 19 December 2017 to suspend licences that have already been issued for the export of Category A defence-related products (weapons and ammunition) to the United Arab Emirates. No new export licences for Category A defence-related products to the United Arab Emirates will be issued.

The Ministry emphasises that there is nothing to indicate that Norwegian ammunition has been used in Yemen. The decision reflects the strict precautionary approach taken by Norway.

 ‘In general, Norway has very strict legislation and guidelines for the export of arms, ammunition and other military equipment. Since 2010, it has been possible to export weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates. It has not been, and is still not, possible to export arms and ammunition to Saudi Arabia,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Søreide.

The armed conflict in Yemen has escalated since autumn 2017, and there are major concerns about the humanitarian situation.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is following the situation in Yemen closely and carries out thorough assessments of all individual applications for export licences, with particular focus on the risk of Norwegian defence-related products being used in Yemen as well as violations of international humanitarian law.

On the basis of a comprehensive assessment and in the light of the unclear situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided, as a precautionary measure, to suspend licences that have already been issued for the export of Category A defence-related products to the United Arab Emirates. This means that no arms or ammunition can be exported to the United Arab Emirates. The export of arms and ammunition to Saudi Arabia is not permitted. In addition, the threshold for refusing licences for the export of Category B defence-related products and dual-use goods for military purposes to countries that are involved in military activities in Yemen will now be even lower.