Human Rights Organization Calls France To Stop Military Deals
The Gulf Institute for Democracy and Human Rights sent a human rights petition to France to stop military deals to the UAE, against the background of its war crimes against civilians in Yemen.
The investigative French website Disclose revealed that France delivered tens of thousands of arms to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar during President Francois Hollande’s reign in 2016, despite knowing that they would be used in the war on Yemen.
The website quoted “secret defense documents” that “since 2016, France has allowed the delivery of about 150,000 shells” to its two Gulf allies. Documents belonging to the General Secretariat for Defense and National Security show that there were intense discussions between the Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, which were settled by Hollande according to the site.
“The French industrialists demanded permission to export tens of thousands of missiles to the Saudi, Emirati, and Qatari armies, while the total amount of contracts amounting to 356.6 million euros,” Disclose wrote.
The site indicated that the three countries were at that time part of a coalition against Yemen within the framework of Operation Decisive Storm. It confirmed that Paris allowed the Saudi forces to deliver 41,500 shells from the Gongas company, 3,000 anti-tank shells, 10,000 smoke shells, and 50,000 high-explosive shells.
It also allowed the delivery of 50,000 artillery missiles produced by Nexter to the UAE, in addition to the Qatari army receiving 346 anti-tank missiles from MBDA.
At the time, the French Foreign Ministry considered that this ammunition could be used in the “Yemeni theater of operations, especially with French weapons,” noting that it “leads to the possibility of non-implementation of our international obligations.” However, the Ministry of Defense refused to reconsider these contracts, arguing that these countries represent “about a third of France’s exports”.
“The delivery of the bombs was a sensitive matter, to the point where it was President Francois Hollande who took the decision in the end,” Disclose said.
The French website criticized current President Emanuel Macron’s decision to “put Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman back on the saddle” by meeting him, despite the latter being the prime suspect in the murder of renowned journalist Jamal Khashoggi.