15-04-2024 02:04 AM Jerusalem Timing

European Parliament Votes for EU-Wide Arms Export Embargo against Saudi

European Parliament Votes for EU-Wide Arms Export Embargo against Saudi

The European Parliament has voted in favor of an EU-wide embargo on selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi militaryThe European Parliament has voted in favor of an EU-wide embargo on selling arms to Saudi Arabia.

A resolution calling for a ban on all weapons sales to the country was passed by 359 votes to 212, with 31 MEPs abstaining.

The non-binding motion calls on member states to stop selling weapons to the country, which is currently conducting a widely-criticized military operation in neighboring Yemen marked by high civilian casualties.

The ongoing Saudi war on Yemen, which started in March 26, 2015, has pushed international organizations to call on halting selling weaponry to KSA.

Criticism of the country’s military operation have included the bombing of multiple hospitals run by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières and the deaths of thousands of civilians, including 130 at a single wedding.

The UN has also said Saudi Arabia is contributing to a “humanitarian disaster” in Yemen.

Figures reported by the Independent in January showed British arms firms cashing in on the conflict, with sales of bombs and missiles to the autocratic regime surging from £9 million to £1 billion in just three months last year.

The Government must approve all arms exports by UK companies abroad. Overall UK licenses granted to military equipment to the country are £6.7 billion since David Cameron took office in 2010 and £2.8 billion since the bombing of Yemen began.

Recent opinion polling by Opinium found that 62 per cent of UK adults oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia, with only 16 per cent supporting them.

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said the sale of European weapons to the region was fuelling the war in the region and that EU member states should listen to the European Parliament.

“The European Parliament has sent a clear, strong and much needed message to governments like the UK, that have been complicit in the destruction of Yemen,” he said.

“The toxic combination of arms sales and political support has helped to fuel, facilitate and legitimize the humanitarian catastrophe that is taking place.”

Alyn Smith, a Scottish National Party MEP involved in the tabling the motion, said Europe had a duty to the civilians of Yemen being killed by Saudi Arabian weaponry.