European parliament calls for Saudi arms embargo

European parliament calls for Saudi arms embargo
2 min read
25 February, 2016
European countries should be banned from shipping weapons to Saudi Arabia, said politicians, because of its military campaign in conflict-torn Yemen which has caused thousands of deaths.
Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen since Saudi-led forces began military operations [Getty]
The European Parliament on Thursday called on the European Union to impose an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, saying Britain, France and other EU governments should no longer sell weapons to a country accused of targeting civilians in Yemen.

Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in Yemen since Saudi-led forces began military operations in March last year, according to the United Nations.

Saudi Arabia said last week it would continue its campaign of air power until Yemen President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi was fully restored to power.

The European Parliament in a resolution urged EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini "to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia".

MEPs also expressed concern "at the airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition and the naval blockade it has imposed on Yemen, which have led to thousands of deaths (and) further destabilised Yemen," a Parliament statement said.

EU lawmakers voted 359 in favour, 212 against and with 31 abstentions for the formal call for an EU arms embargo.

"A ceasefire that halts attacks against civilians, medical and aid workers, ground fighting and shelling in Yemen is urgently needed to allow life-saving aid to reach the Yemeni people," the statement said.

A ceasefire that halts attacks against civilians, medical and aid workers, ground fighting and shelling in Yemen is urgently needed to allow life-saving aid to reach the Yemeni people

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia buys most of its arms from the United States but also has major contracts worth tens of billions with key EU powers, led by Britain and France, where there is growing unease at their use in the Yemen fighting.