Madrid had announced last week it would block the controversial 2015 deal amid concerns over Riyadh's role in the deadly war in Yemen. Human rights groups are critical of Western arms sale to Saudi Arabia and its allies.
Ignoring the criticism from humanitarian groups, the Spanish government decided Thursday to go ahead with the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.
"In the end, the decision is to deliver these bombs to honor a contract dating from 2015," Foreign Minister Josep Borrell told Spain's Onda Cero radio, adding that the €9.2-million ($10.7 million) contract was approved by the previous government.
Last month, Madrid decided to halt the arms deal after an airstrike by Saudi allies in northern Yemen killed at least 40 children.
The UN has labeled Yemen as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. After three and a half years of war, 22 million Yemenis – or three-quarters of the population – have become dependent on aid supplies.
When asked about concerns that the bombs could be used in Yemen, Borrell said they have "extraordinary precision of less than a meter" and would not cause collateral damage.
Spanish authorities say the cancelation of the deal with Saudi Arabia could have jeopardized the much bigger €1.8-billion warship contract with Riyadh.
shs/kms (Reuters, AFP)