Riyadh – Mubasher: Spain has cancelled the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia over concerns it might lead a coalition fighting rebels in Yemen.
The new socialist government of Spain has planned to return EUR 9.2 million ($10.6 million) paid by Saudi Arabia under the deal signed in 2015 under the previous conservative administration, a Cadena Ser radio report confirmed by a defence ministry spokesman said.
The announcement follows an air strike by the Saudi-led coalition battling rebels in Yemen in August that killed dozens of civilians, including at least 40 Yemeni children on a school bus.
The coalition claimed at the time that they were to target a bus carrying rebels, however, the incident sparked a wave of international anger as many called for a transparent investigation by the United Nations Security Council (UN).
In March 2015, a military intervention led by Saudi Arabia, including the UAE and other allies, was formed in a response to calls by Yemeni ousted president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi for military support against Shiite Houthi rebels linked to Iran.
Almost 10,000 people were killed in the conflict since then, including 2,200 children, which the UN described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.
Amnesty International and other groups, including Greenpeace and Oxfam, urged Spain to halt all arm sales to the world's top oil exporter during a meeting with the Spanish secretary of state for trade Xiana Mendez.
The Spanish government has not taken any decisions regarding limiting to Saudi Arabia, Oxfam spokeswoman Lara Contreras told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
In April, a Spanish-Saudi agreement was signed to sell the Gulf Arab state five warships at an estimated cost of EUR 1.8 billion.