Paavo Arhinmäki (Left Alliance) has lashed out at the government for its decision to grant a licence to export defence materiel to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Robonic, a Tampere-headquartered supplier of launch systems for unmanned aerial vehicles, was granted a licence to export two launch systems to the United Arab Emirates on Monday despite the opposition of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The Ministry for Foreign Affairs recommended in foreign and security policy assessment that the licence application be rejected. Its assessment report is classified, but its reservations were related to the volatile situation in the region, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
“The assessments are always carried out on a case-by-case basis. The unstable situation in the region resulted in this kind of a foreign and security policy assessment,” Timo Kantola, a deputy director general at the political department of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, confirmed to the newspaper on Wednesday.
The government, meanwhile, said the decision to grant the export licence was made based on the importance of technology exports.
Activists and policy makers alike have called for the suspension of defence and military equipment sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates due to the countries’ deteriorating human rights situation and involvement in the civil war in Yemen.
Arhinmäki on Wednesday said it was “shameful” to sanction exports to a country participating in a civil war caused by a humanitarian catastrophe.
“Many estimates indicate that the humanitarian situation in Yemen is at least as catastrophic as that in Syria. How inhumane and horrible must the situation become before the government and Minister of Defence [Jussi] Niinistö (NA) stop granting licences to export defence materiel to countries involved in the conflict?” he asked.
He also reminded that the government cited its values and morals as the key reason for discontinuing coalition co-operation with the Finns Party in mid-June.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi