Belgian court suspends arms export to Saudi Arabia

Belgium’s highest administrative court on Friday suspended arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia.

The Council of State decided to suspend by an emergency ruling the Wallonian minister-president’s decision on granting licenses to several Belgian companies to export arms to Saudi Arabia.

Elio di Rupo, the minister-president of the country’s southern region, gave authorization to two Wallonia-based arms companies, FN Herstal and CMI Defense, to sell weapons to the Saud Arabia’s National Guard and Royal Guard in early July.

Licenses were meant to replace previous decisions canceled by the highest administrative court.

The new authorizations were again brought to the Council of State by human rights and anti-war associations, claiming Saudi Arabia might use the military equipment to intervene in Yemen.

“It cannot be excluded that there is a real risk for the weapons ... to be used in the context of the conflict in Yemen or to contribute to internal repression,” according to the decision.

Saudi Arabia is the most important client of the Wallonia’s arms industry.

In 2018, local companies sold weapons for €225 million ($267 million) to the oil monarchy, representing one-quarter of the region's total arms export.

Saudi Arabia is using the weapons in its war on Yemen. 


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