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Tue 11 Sep 2018 11:11 AM

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Spanish bomb sale to Saudis may go ahead, says defence minister

Spanish defence minister Margarita Robles said it was "irresponsible" to tie the debate over the bomb sale to a 1.8-billion euro warship deal

Spanish bomb sale to Saudis may go ahead, says defence minister
Spanish minister of defence Margarita Robles

A 2015 Spanish deal to sell 400 laser-guides bombs to Saudi Arabia may go ahead as planned despite reports it was cancelled, Spanish defence minister Margarita Robles said on Monday.

Earlier it September, it was reported that the country’s new Socialist government was planning to return $10.6 million already paid by the Spanish government for the bombs as part of the deal, which was signed by a previous Spanish administration.

On Monday, Robles told a parliamentary commission that the deal is still being examined – rather than scrapped - and that the agreement stipulates that any disputes will be resolved “amicably.”

“The deal is under study, but is [currently] paralysed or stopped, whatever you want to call it,” she is quoted as saying by Spain’s El Pais newspaper.

“The obligation of the Defence Ministry is to study each one of its deals, whether they are for satellites or for the sale of bombs.”

Robles also said it was “irresponsible” to link the bomb sale to a 1.8 billion euro contract that Riyadh has with Spain to build five warships, which online-daily El Independiente reported that the Saudis planned to cancel.

“Whoever transmit those message is being politically irresponsible,” she said.

According to Spanish media reports, the warship deal is directly tied to 6,000 jobs in Cadiz and Galicia.

Reports that the deal was being cancelled led a government spokesperson to state that the government was “working to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia” and defend the deal.

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