Spain to begin inspections on final destination of exported arms to curb misuse

SPAIN is set to approve a new weapons inspection regime to track arms to their final destination to stop them being used improperly.

The Commerce Ministry introduced the inspections amidst concerns over the use of arms exported to Saudi Arabia in the Yemeni Civil War.

The new system, similar to that used by Germany and Switzerland, is also designed to prevent the use of exported weapons by terror groups.

Xiana Mendez, Secretary of State for Commerce, said the new system would not be limited to any type of weapon or one country.

“We do not want to put additional obstacles in the way of defence exports but we do want to provide guarantees about the use of arms,” Mendez said.

The new system is set to see military personnel and weapons experts track weapons through Spain’s diplomatic envoys to the country where they have been exported to.

The system, due to be approved before the April 28 general election, also gives Madrid the power to revoke export licenses to countries that refuse to allow inspections.

The reforms follow Defence Minister Magarita Roble’s decision to halt the sale of hundreds of bombs to Saudi Arabia last year over concerns weapons were causing civilian causalities.

Riyadh threatened to cancel a €1.8 billion contract for Spain’s state-backed Navatia to build five warships for the Royal Saudi Navy in retaliation. The sale of the bombs was later allowed to go ahead.

The Yemen Civil War has claimed the lives of between 60,000 and 83,000 people since it began in 2015, including 6,592 civilians. The UN has said the war has unleashed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with thousands of people believed to have died due to starvation and disease.

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Joe Gerrard

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