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European Parliament urges EU to boycott Saudi G20 summit

The G20 summit will take place virtually this year [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 October, 2020

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The bill calls for EU Presidents Von der Leyen and Charles Michel to snub the G20 summit in Riyadh in November.
The European Parliament on Thursday passed a bill condemning Saudi rights abuses and calling on the European Union to boycott a November G20 Leaders' summit to take place in Riyadh.

The motion approved by MEPs calls on EU Presidents Ursula Von der Leyen and Charles Michel to "reconsider the EU's participation in the G20 summit", DW reported.

The bill, perhaps the harshest indictment of Saudi Arabia to come out of Brussels so far, comes two years after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

"We are all aware of the importance of Saudi Arabia as a partner of the European Union and for the stability of the Middle East. However, this must not be an alibi for violating human rights," said Marc Tarabella, a Belgian MEP and vice chair of the delegation for the relations with Arabian Peninsula.

"The assassination of Khashoggi remains unpunished, Raif Badawi is still in prison; Loujain al-Hathloul and the women activists and even members of the royal family like Prince Salman Abdulaziz and Princess Basmah are detained without charges for year," Tarabella said according to DW.

The European Parliament bill condemns a number of human rights violations by Saudi Arabia, including alleged war crimes in Yemen, the abuse of migrant workers and executions.

The bill was written by parliamentarians from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats group, the Renew Europe group and the Greens-European Free Alliance.

As well as urging the European Council to impose sanctions against those responsible for the killing of Khashoggi, the resolution calls on Saudi Arabia to implement numerous human rights reforms.

Notably, it calls on Riyadh to end the controversial Kafala system that governs the life of migrant workers in the kingdom, as well as to care for Yemeni refugees and declare an end to death sentences.

The annual G20 summit will be held virtually this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia said last month.

Mayors from London and New York have already agreed to boycott the U20 Mayors' summit which will preside the G20 conference.

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