Norway has officially banned arms sales to Saudi Arabia, following the recent horrific murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but seafood sales don’t seem to be a problem. Norway’s seafood promotion council was in Riyadh this week, despite all the controversy around the Saudi crown prince who’s widely believed to have ordered the murder.
“Participation in this seafood exhibition (in Saudi Arabia) has been planned for a long time,” explained Asbjørn Warvik Rørtveit, marketing director for Norsk sjømatsråd, told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN). He said the seafood council had been in “close contact” with Norway’s foreign and trade ministries.
“We take the problems tied to human rights in Saudi Arabis seriously, and distance ourselves from all human rights violations,” Rørtveit insisted. He said the Norwegian seafood sellers, however, “think that international trade in the longer term can influence and stimulate positive changes in the countries where we’re active.”
That, he claims, is why the seafood council decided not to cancel its participation at food exhibition called Saudi Horeca. He stressed that Norwegian authorities had said only weapons and defense material were subject to export bans to Saudi Arabia.