November 9, 2018 / 4:52 PM / 11 days ago

Norway suspends arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway announced on Friday that it was suspending new licenses for arms exports to Saudi Arabia following recent developments in the Gulf kingdom and the situation in Yemen.

A foreign ministry spokesman declined to say whether the decision was partly motivated by the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

“We have decided that in the present situation we will not give new licenses for the export of defense material or multipurpose goods for military use to Saudi Arabia,” Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in a statement.

Germany said last month that it would halt German arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the killing of Khashoggi was explained.

Norway’s announcement comes a week after its foreign minister summoned the Saudi ambassador to Oslo to protest Khashoggi’s assassination.

The decision (to suspend licenses) was taken after “a broad assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the unclear situation in Yemen,” the foreign ministry said in its statement.

Saudi Arabia is leading a coalition of forces against Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen, in a conflict that has driven much of Yemen’s population to the brink of famine.

Reporting by Gwladys Fouche; Editing by Susan Fenton

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