THE Spanish Prime Minister spoke in parliament yesterday to say he supports the sale of arms to Saudi Arabia.
Pedro Sanchez, the leader of Spain’s Socialist (PSOE) government, claimed he defends ‘the interests of the Spaniards’, largely because of a contract with the House of Saud to build five warships in Cadiz.
If Spain suspended Saudi Arms sales, 6,000 jobs in the Bay of Cadiz would be at risk at state-owned shipbuilding company Navantia, in a deal worth €1.8 billion.
Sanchez said: “We are talking about valid contracts, which comply with the requirements of the normative in use in our country, and which do not enter in conflict with the Resolution 2216 of the UN Security Council of 2015.”
This latest government support for Saudi arms sales comes just a month after Madrid went ahead with the sale of 400 guided missiles, despite Defense Minister Margarita Robles trying to halt the deal.
Following a warning from Riyadh, that Saudi would cancel the €1.8 billion warships deal, Sanchez proceeded with the missiles sale.
His comments yesterday will prove controversial, as Saudi Arabia depend on foreign arms sales for their proxy war in Yemen, where 14 million people are at risk of starvation.
Foreign aid can not reach everyone who needs it in Yemen, because of the fighting, and Saudi’s weapons, bought from European countries, have been used to kill thousands of civilians.
“The immune systems of millions of people on survival support for years on end are now are literally collapsing, making them — especially children and the elderly — more likely to succumb to malnutrition, cholera and other diseases,” the U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia is also marred in the scandal surrounding the ‘premeditated’ killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, which the Gulf state initially denied all knowledge of.
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