Helsinki, Nov 23 (IECurrentAffairs) Finland has decided to stop issuing new export permits for weapons deliveries to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, but does not stop shipments based on earlier permits.
The decision is linked with the recent death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and role of Saudi Arabia in the Yemen war. The Finnish decision followed similar moves by Norway and Denmark, national broadcaster Yle reported on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Timo Soini said in parliament on Thursday that “in all its ghastliness, the murder of journalist Khashoggi opened a time window for acting now”.
Prime Minister Juha Sipila said later to Yle that the situation in Yemen was the primary underlying factor, but the death of Khashoggi affected as well. Sipila said it had been clear already earlier that no new export licenses would be issued.
Opposition demanded in parliament that current deliveries should be suspended. Soini said no decision on current deliveries has been made and the government keeps observing the situation.
Finnish arms export to the two countries has comprised mainly armed personnel carriers and grenade launchers.
Yle TV international news analyst Antti Pilke noted that arms export to Saudi Arabia and the UAE amounted to such a volume in 2016 that the Middle East became the largest target area of Finnish arms export that year.