Belgium to maintain arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite Yemen pressure

Belgium is in 6th place on the list of European Union countries that exported the most weapons to Saudi Arabia in 2017, with nearly 152 million euros for eight arms licences, according to the latest EU report on arms exports that the specialised information site “Brussels 2” obtained before its publication.
The figure of 153 million euros has been known since June and is due to Wallonia alone. These deliveries to the Sunni kingdom mainly concerned firearms, artillery, ammunition and armoured vehicles.

In 2017, France remained the champion in arms exports to Saudi Arabia, worth €14.6 billion. In second place is the United Kingdom with 1.28 billion, followed by Bulgaria (385 million), Spain (496 million) and Germany (254 million), according to B2.

Wallonia, a 100% shareholder in the FN Herstal arms factory, joined the Magnette government as one of the public authorities in favour of a (improbable) European embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, while under the Borsus executive, it invited arms-producing companies to implement a plan to diversify their markets within five years.

The murder of Saudi journalist and opponent Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul (Turkey) has revived the long-standing European Parliament’s calls for an EU arms embargo on Saudi Arabia. But countries such as France and the United Kingdom are opposed to it.

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