EU parliament calls for sanctions on Saudi arms sales

EU parliament calls for sanctions on Saudi arms sales for fuelling Yemen conflict
2 min read
14 November, 2018
The EU is the second largest arms supplier in the world after the United States, exporting over a quarter of international weapons sales.
The war in Yemen has killed almost 10,000 people. [Getty]
European Union arms exports to Saudi Arabia are fuelling the deadly conflict in Yemen and sanctions must be imposed on countries flouting the EU's rules on weapons sales, the European Parliament said on Wednesday.

"In Yemen, European weapons are fundamentally responsible for the war taking place," Sabine Losing, a German EU lawmaker leading efforts to hold governments accountable, said.

The EU is the second largest arms supplier in the world after the United States, exporting over a quarter of international weapons sales.

The EU's Common Position on arms exports contains eight criteria that governments must apply when deciding on an arms export licence.

EU lawmakers said arms sales to Saudi Arabia violate six of those criteria.

"The Common Position on arms exports must be implemented effectively. That includes, among others, a sanctions mechanism," Losing said, Reuters reported.

Since the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, the EU parliament has passed two resolutions urging limits on arms sales and strengthening checks. The calls are non-binding.

France has come under fire from rights groups over sales to Saudi Arabia, but President Emmanuel Macron has insisted that selling weapons to Riyadh - France's second biggest customer after India - have "nothing to do with Mr Khashoggi".

Last week, Norway became the latest country to announce it was suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia, following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Riyadh's ongoing war in Yemen.

Switzerland and Germany have also announced they would halt defence exports to Saudi Arabia following the killing of the journalist.

The war in Yemen has killed almost 10,000 people since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 and sparked what the UN has labelled the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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