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Norway Suspends Arms Sales to UAE Over Yemen War

Last week, in an unusually direct criticism of the war, Jamie McGoldrick, UN coordinator in Yemen, called the fighting futile and absurd.Last week, in an unusually direct criticism of the war, Jamie McGoldrick, UN coordinator in Yemen, called the fighting futile and absurd.

Norway has suspended exports of weapons and ammunition to the United Arab Emirates over concerns they could be used in the war in Yemen, the Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

The UAE is part of a US-backed Saudi-led coalition formed in 2015 to reinstall a Riyadh-aligned president and fight Houthi group that controls most of northern Yemen and the capital Sanaa, in a war that has killed thousands and displaced more than three million, Middle East Eye reported.

While there is currently no evidence that Norwegian-made ammunition has been used in Yemen, there was a rising risk related to the UAE’s military involvement there, the ministry said.

Existing export permits had been temporarily revoked and no new licenses would be issued under the current circumstances, Norway said.

In 2016, Norwegian exports of weapons and ammunition to the UAE rose to the equivalent of $9.7m from $5.1m in 2015, data from Statistics Norway showed.

Last week, in an unusually direct criticism of the war, Jamie McGoldrick, UN coordinator in Yemen, called the fighting futile and absurd.

Citing initial reports from the UN human rights office, a statement by McGoldrick said airstrikes hit a crowded market in the Al Hayma sub-district of Attazziah in Taiz Governorate last Tuesday, killing 54 and injuring 32.

Eight of the dead and six of the injured were children, according to the reports.

Under international law, the warring sides must spare civilians and civilian infrastructure, he added.

The United Nations has no up-to-date estimate of the death toll in Yemen, having said in August 2016 that according to medical centers at least 10,000 people had been killed.

The UN says Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with about eight million people on the brink of famine, a cholera epidemic that has infected one million people, and economic collapse in what was already one of the Arab world’s poorest countries.

 

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