The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González Laya has made a tour of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Quatar with the aim of “relaunching political and economic relations with the region”1 . Although the specific reason for her trip was the signing of economic arms sales agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia at a time when these countries use such weaponsto perpetrate their war crimes in Yemen2.
One of the countries visited by the minister, the United Arab Emirates, acquires weapons in order to interfere in external conflicts and support governments notorious for their human rights violations such as that of Abdelfatah El Sisi in Egypt3 . The UAE has been accused by numerous NGOs such as Human Right Watch4 of violating human rights, attacking its dissent and imprisoning activists and critics in addition to the humiliating treatment of its prisoners. However Arancha González Laya has signed a security and “crime-fighting” agreement with the UAE5.
Another visited country was Saudi Arabia. In an interview for Al-Arabiya6, González Laya supported the “anti-terrorist” fight in Saudi Arabia and highlighted Spain’s experience in the fight against terrorism. However Saudi Arabia has been proven to be the main funder of Islamic terrorism by promoting an extreme version of Islam7, and the interventionist policy of Saudi Arabia and the UAE has strengthened the jihadist movements in Yemen. Justifying the more than 1,200 million euros in arms that Spain has sold to Saudi Arabiaand the UAE González Laya has said that our country only sells “defensive material” and cooperates with the Saudi kingdom in the fight against terrorism.
Every 10 minutes a child dies in Yemen8, among other things, due to the maritime blockade that Saudi Arabia has carried out in the country for years9. The main cause of the Yemeni devastation is not terrorism but the criminality of Saudi Arabia and the UAE thanks to the support of various Western countries including Spain. However the government refuses to see that there is any ethical problem in doing business with these countries. To give an example of its usual lack of transparency the Saudi Arabian ship Bahri Jazan called at the port of Sagunto something that it tried to hide until the last minute by falsifying its waybill10. n total four containers of explosive material were loaded onto the ship11. When Amnesty International requested information from the Government it refused to provide it arguing that “the information contained in the export declaration document is confidential by nature”12.
The absence of humanitarian aid from the Spanish government in a crisis such as that in Yemen, characterized as “the worst famine the world has seen in decades” according to António Guterres13, in addition to the hundreds of millions of euros sold in weapons and Infrastructure agreements with the Gulf countries show us that for our government money prevails over the lives of millions of people. Only through our mobilization will we be able to show their lack of humanity and their hypocrisy with the aim that Spain be part of the solution that goes through moving towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Yemen that guarantees the sovereignty of the Yemeni people and the human rights of their population.
1 http://www.exteriores.gob.es/Portal/es/SalaDePrensa/ElMinisterioInforma/Paginas/Noticias/20210211_MINISTERIO1.aspx 2 https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-internacional-46287160 3 https://www.france24.com/es/20180329-abdelfatah-al-sisi-egipto 4 https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2021/country-chapters/united-arab-emirates 5 https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/serviciosdeprensa/notasprensa/exteriores/Paginas/2021/080221-gira_exteriores.aspx 6 https://english.alarabiya.net/business/economy/2021/02/17/Economy-Spain-in-talks-with-Gulf-sovereign-funds-on-investing-in-EU-recovery-projects-FM 7 https://elordenmundial.com/lo-que-calla-occidente-sobre-el-terrorismo-islamico-por-eliseo-oliveras/ 8 https://www.unicef.es/noticia/2-anos-de-conflicto-en-yemen-1-nino-muere-cada-10-minutos 9 https://www.eldiario.es/internacional/theguardian/bloqueo-yemen-intensifica-hambruna-poblacion_1_3072800.html 10 https://www.publico.es/politica/barco-muerte-saudi-falsea-hoja-ruta-tratar-ocultar-escala-sagunto.html 11 https://cadenaser.com/emisora/2020/03/07/radio_valencia/1583592626_603832.html 12 https://www.publico.es/politica/gobierno-aferra-secreto-profesional-no-informar-congreso-barcos-muerte-saudies.html 13 https://www.dw.com/es/onu-yemen-en-peligro-inminente-de-sufrir-la-peor-hambruna-del-mundo-en-d%C3%A9cadas/a-55680270