Madrid has inked a military deal with the Riyadh regime, which would see a Spanish firm build five warships for Saudi Arabia, despite an international cry against the sales of military equipment to the kingdom amid its bloody war on impoverished Yemen.
The agreement was signed between the state-owned Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and Spain’s shipbuilder, Navantia, on Thursday, paving the way for the two sides to set up a joint venture in the kingdom for constructing the five battleships, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The deal is part of a broader framework bilaterally agreed in April -- when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman visited Spain -- which is estimated to be worth around 1.8 billion euros ($2.2 billion).
The report added that the program to design and build the five Avante 2200 Corvettes would start in the coming months and that the last unit would be delivered by 2022.
In turn, SAMI said, the joint venture would “localize more than 60 percent of ships combat systems works," including installation and integration.
The Madrid government has faced criticism for selling weapons to the Riyadh regime, which has been involved in a fatal military campaign against Yemen since early 2015.
Campaign groups Amnesty International, Spain’s FundiPau, Greenpeace and Oxfam are some of the activist groups that have called on Spain to stop selling military equipment to the Saudis, accusing them of abusing rights.
The Saudi-led campaign, which was launched in March 2015 in support of Yemen’s former Riyadh-friendly government, has so far killed and injured some 600,000 people, according to the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights.
Besides Spain, the US, the UK and France have also been providing the Saudi regime with military equipment in the course of the war on Yemen.