EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Votes to Set Embargo on Selling Arms to Saudi Arabia

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 9.48.50 AMSomeone needed to. Wonder what the immediate effects this embargo will actually have?

The European Parliament has voted in favour 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-criticised military operation in neighbouring Yemen marked by high civilian casualties.

Saudi Arabia is intervening in Yemen to fight Houthi rebels, who control the country’s capital but are not internationally recognised as its government.

Criticism of the country’s military operation have however 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.

While international observers have recognised abuses on all sides, in late December UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein said that a “disproportionate” number of attacks of civilians in Yemen had come from the Saudi-led invasion force.

“I have observed with extreme concern the continuation of heavy shelling from the ground and the air in areas with high a concentration of civilians as well as the perpetuation of the destruction of civilian infrastructure – in particular hospitals and schools – by all parties to the conflict, although a disproportionate amount appeared to be the result of airstrikes carried out by Coalition forces,” Mr Zeid said.

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 licences 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.

Read more: Independent.co.uk

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