“Following a comprehensive assessment of the situation in Yemen and the increasing risk associated with the United Arab Emirates’ military involvement in Yemen, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs decided on 19 December 2017 to suspend valid licenses for A-materials (weapons and ammunition) to the United Arab Emirates,” the press release read.
The ministry noted that new export licenses of A-materials to the United Arab Emirates would not be granted in this situation. The press release added that there was no information about Norwegian ammunition being used in Yemen, but the decision was an expression of the country’s hard line on the issue of arms exports.
“Norway generally has very strict legislation and relevant guidelines for exports of weapons, ammunition and other military equipment,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said, as quoted in the press release.
The ministry stressed that the development of the armed conflict in Yemen in the fall of 2017 had been serious, and there were grave concerns about the humanitarian situation in the region. In this regard, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry is closely following the situation in Yemen and makes thorough individual assessments of each application for export licenses, “especially considering the risk of using Norwegian defense materials in Yemen and human rights violations,” the press release added.
Yemen has been engulfed in a military conflict since 2015, with the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi fighting against the Houthi rebels, backed by army units loyal to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Since March 2015, the Saudi-led coalition of mostly Persian Gulf Arab countries has been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthis in Yemen under Hadi's request.
In November, tensions between the rebels and Saleh escalated and shortly after reaffirming the end of his alliance with the Houthis, Saleh was killed by the rebels.