Date :Friday, November 16th, 2018 | Time : 22:43 |ID: 77957 | Print

EU parliament calls for seek checks on arms sales fuelling Yemen conflict

, , , , , , , ,

SHAFAQNA-The European Parliament said that governments should apply tougher checks on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and other countries involved in the kingdom’s coalition in Yemen, Meanwhile the EU is the second largest arms exporter after the United States.

Calls for a suspension of arms sales to Riyadh and its allies have increased, especially after the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last month, which is blamed on the highest levels of the kingdom.

German EU lawmaker, Sabine Losing, who is leading efforts to hold EU governments to account, said: “In Yemen, European weapons are fundamentally responsible for the war taking place.”

“The Common Position on arms exports must be implemented effectively. That includes, among others, a sanctions mechanism,” Losing added.

The European Union’s so-called Common Position on arms exports lists eight criteria governments must apply when taking a decision on an arms export license. Sales to Saudi Arabia violated six out of the eight, lawmakers said.

The EU parliament has passed two resolutions urging limits on arms sales

Since Khashoggi’s murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, the EU parliament has passed two resolutions urging limits on arms sales and strengthening checks. The calls are non-binding.

According to the EU’s annual report on weapons exports, the bloc is the second largest arms supplier in the world after the United States, exporting over a quarter of all global arm.

According to figures compiled by leading online news outlet Middle East Eye, European countries have approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE worth more than $86.7 billion since 2015. The report said 21 EU countries approved licenses for the export of arms, ranging from bullets and bombs to fighter jets and specialized military components in 2015. In 2016, 40.5 per cent of the bloc’s weapons were provided to areas in the Middle East and North Africa.

European weapons fuel the brutal war in Yemen

Arms exports to Saudi Arabia in particular have recently proven that European weapons fuel the brutal war in Yemen, where a Saudi Arabia-led coalition is battling backed Houthi. As much as 95% of the exports have been approved in recent years. According to the report, there is a lack of sound risk assessments regarding export authorisations and, above all, the “implementation of end-user controls and end-use”.

“We need to put to an end to both the EU’s military madness as well as the unscrupulous and lucrative business of death by European weapons,” Lösing concluded.

The document also referred to the fact that too many European weapons have ultimately landed in the hands of terrorist networks and groups in recent years, referring to “shocking findings” at the “amount of EU-made weapons and ammunition found in the hands of Daesh in Syria and Iraq.

EU Countries, come under fire over sales of arms to the Middle East

These EU Countries, have in recent years come under fire from human rights groups over sales of arms to the Middle East, euractiv told.

Many governments have promised to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia, but only Germany and Switzerland has suspended its sales until clear explanations are made about the murder and other countries taking part in the Riyadh-led coalition in Yemen following the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The UK, France and Spain have all signaled that they will continue business as usual.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s government has come under fire from rights groups and opposition lawmakers over sales of French arms to Saudi Arabia. Paris has sought to increase its diplomatic weight in the Middle East through the sale of naval vessels, tanks, artillery and munitions to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Last week, Norway became the latest country to announce it was suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia, following the murder of Khashoggi and Riyadh’s ongoing military campaign against Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched a devastating military campaign against Yemen in March 2015. According to a new report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), a nonprofit conflict-research organization, the Saudi war has claimed the lives of around 56,000 Yemenis so far. The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories.

The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

Since the onset of that war, Riyadh has been accused of using banned chemical weapons against the Yemeni soldiers defending their country against the Saudi-led aggression, with reports of using US-supplied white phosphorus munitions that can maim and kill by burning to the bone, press TV reported.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *