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International Diplomacy Norway halts arms sales to Emirates over Yemen invasion

NORWAY suspended arms exports to the United Arab Emirates today over its role in the invasion of Yemen.

Oslo called the move a “precautionary line” based on its assessment of the devastating situation in Yemen, where the Saudi-led nine-nation coalition, which includes the UAE, has killed more than 10,000 civilians and displaced three million in nearly three years of war.

The coalition was formed in 2015 to fight Houthi rebels who now control much of northern Yemen and the capital Sana’a.

Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soreide said she had “no information” that any of Norway’s military exports had been used in Yemen, but she acknowledged “great concern” over the humanitarian crisis there.

However, Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang published a video released by Houthi forces yesterday, allegedly showing a “US spy submarine” they had seized.

The newspaper said the vehicle was a REMUS 600 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle made by Norway’s Kongsberg group.

Norway has sold weapons and ammunition to UAE since 2010. Its arms exports to the Gulf state totalled 79 million Norwegian crowns (£7.2m) in 2016 alone, up from 41 million (£3.7m) in 2015, Statistics Norway data showed

On Tuesday, the Sana’a government called for an independent and impartial international commission to investigate war crimes committed by the Saudi-led coalition, the Saba news agency reported.

The Ministry of Human Rights urged the United Nations and the UN security council to press the coalition to end the war, lift the blockade and work towards a political solution to the regional crisis.

The ministry condemned the New Year’s Eve coalition raid in western Hodeidah province on the Red Sea that reportedly killed 34 civilians.

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