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European Parliament Votes Up Saudi Arms Embargo

Feb. 26, 2016 (EIRNS)—The European Parliament voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of the European Union imposing an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, and called on Britain, France and other EU governments to no longer sell weapons to a country accused of targeting civilians in Yemen. The call said that Britain had approved sales of more than £3 billion in arms to Saudi Arabia since Saudi-led forces began their military intervention into Yemen last March. That war has caused the deaths of nearly 6,000 people, almost half civilians, according to the United Nations, and the Members of the European Parliament (MEP), as reported in the Guardian.

"This is about Yemen. The human rights violations have reached a level that means Europe is obliged to act and to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia," said U.K. MEP Richard Howitt (Labour) who led efforts to hold the vote.

Although the vote is not legally binding, MEPs hope it will induce EU governments to agree to an embargo. Already a petition signed by 750,000 European citizens calling for the suspension of weapon sales has been filed with the European Parliament.

MEP Alyn Smith, a Scottish Nationalist, has also written to EU Council foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to back imposing the embargo. The news short from the European Parliament notes that the

"MEPs call on EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini ’to launch an initiative aimed at imposing an EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia.’"

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