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MEPs call for EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia

February 26, 2016 12:14 AM
Originally published by South Central Region Liberal Democrats

MEPs have called on the EU to impose an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia due to the country's bombing campaign in Yemen that is causing mass civilian casualties.

The demand echoes calls by the Liberal Democrats who have urged the UK government to suspend arms sales to the Saudis, following a UN investigation which uncovered widespread attacks on civilian targets in violation of international humanitarian law.

Conservative MEPs today refused to back the joint European Parliament resolution condemning Saudi Arabia for its airstrikes in Yemen, putting forward instead a separate motion that omitted any explicit criticism of the Saudi government. The move comes after intense lobbying from Saudi Arabia including a letter sent to MEPs earlier this week from the Saudi Ambassador to the EU.

Liberal Democrat MEP Catherine Bearder commented:

"The EU should use its collective weight to put pressure on the Saudi regime and end this murderous bombing campaign.

"There is strong evidence that British weapons are being used against civilians in Yemen in clear violation of international law.

"The Conservatives must stop turning a blind eye to this scandal and support an EU-wide arms embargo until the situation improves."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The amendment voted on today states: "Calls on the High Representative to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, given the serious allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by Saudi Arabia in Yemen." 359 MEPs voted in favour of the amendment and 212 against.

The full joint European Parliament resolution can be found here. The Conservative-led ECR group's alternative resolution can be found here