By Atila Altuntas
STOCKHOLM (AA) – Norway has suspended exports of defense-related products to Saudi Arabia, the country’s foreign ministry said Friday.
“We have decided that, in the current situation, no new licenses are to be granted for exports of defense-related products or dual-use items for military use to Saudi Arabia,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Ine Eriksen Soreide said in a statement.
“We stopped processing new applications some time ago, pending this decision. Norway has never allowed exports of arms or ammunition to Saudi Arabia,” Soreide said.
“The decision was taken after an overall assessment of recent developments in Saudi Arabia and the region, and the unpredictable situation in Yemen,” the statement added.
Impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital, Sanaa.
The conflict escalated in 2015 when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a devastating air campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains.
Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel ruled out any weapons exports to Saudi Arabia until the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is cleared up.
“This must be cleared up. And until it is cleared up, there will be no arms exports to Saudi Arabia. I am saying this quite explicitly,” Merkel said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.