Switzerland lifts ban on arms export to Middle East

21 April 2016 (Last Updated April 21st, 2016 18:30)

The Swiss Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly lifted a ban on the exports of certain arms to the Middle East.

The Swiss Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reportedly lifted a ban on the exports of certain arms to the Middle East.

The decision approves the foreign military sale of air defence system, military aircraft and artillery spare parts and other defence equipment.

However, restrictions are still in place for weapons and other war-related materials that would potentially support ground combat in Yemen.

The move reportedly follows protests to reconsider the ban from Swiss weapons manufacturers.

"The decision approves the foreign military sale of air defence system, military aircraft and artillery spare parts and other defence equipment."

The MoD has approved some of the blocked orders, including $185m worth of spare parts for air defence systems in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE.

It has also approved the delivery of spare parts for fighter aircraft in Bahrain and tanks in UAE.

Orders for small arms and ammunition have been approved for export to Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait and UAE.

Recommended by the Swiss cabinet in March 2015, the ban was enforced in response to the escalating crisis in Yemen.

Meanwhile, human rights watchdog Amnesty International has conducted the latest round of discussions with national representatives on the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) in Geneva.

The ATT aims to prevent countries from selling weapons to Saudi Arabia.

Approximately 3,000 civilians have been killed in the Yemen crisis, with 83% of the country's population requiring humanitarian aid.