HELSINKI, November 22 -- Finland will not issue new arms export authorisations to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates due to the humanitarian situation in Yemen.
“The Government discussed arms export matters and decided that in the current situation there are no foundations for new arms export authorisations to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates,” the Thursday, November 22 release said. “In its deliberations, the Government laid stress on the alarming humanitarian situation in Yemen, in particular.”
The two Persian Gulf states lead an alliance that intervened in Yemen’s civil war in 2015, supporting President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The grinding war has caused growing international outcry, particularly after a string of high-profile coalition strikes that have killed scores of civilians, many of them children. Finland joins Denmark, Germany and Norway, who all recently froze arms arms exports to Saudi Arabia over Yemen and the murder of high-profile Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi in Istanbul.
“Finland’s arms export is based on a careful case-by-case discussion,” the ministry said, adding that it “observes the European Union’s arms export criteria, in which special attention is paid to human rights and to the protection of regional peace, security and stability.”
The UAE was Finland’s biggest arms export customer in 2017, according to a foreign ministry report. Eleven export licenses were issued, valued at €36,352,120 ($41.5 million). Saudi Arabia was granted three permits, valued at a total of €1,508,970 ($1.7 million). The total value of realized exports from Finland in 2017 was €106.4 million ($121.4), a drop of around 20 percent on 2016. The UAE accounted for 8.4 percent of those exports, valued at €8.9 million ($10.2 million), while Saudi Arabia accounted for almost 5 percent at €5.3 million ($6 million).
BERLIN, October 5 -- Finland’s most citizens would not want their country to join NATO, and thus the issue is not on the agenda, Finland’s Prime Minister Alexander Stubb said.
“We should have joined NATO in 1995, when we joined the European Union. But now we are very satisfied with the close partnership with the Alliance, though purely formal; though we do not have security guarantees in case of attacks. Anyway, I do not see a majority calling for joining (NATO),” he said.
Besides, the prime minister stressed importance of economic relations with Russia.
“If everything is good in the Russian economy, everything will be good in ours, too,” he said. Thus, Helsinki is for “diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian conflict,” which has been a reason for the sanctions against Russia. Finland is also affected by the sanctions, the prime minister added.
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