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Calls for a ban on arms sales in Saudi Arabia, but Europe has no action yet

BERLIN – The killing of the writer Jamal Khashoggi has led to self-sufficiency in some European countries about their sale…

BERLIN – The killing of the writer Jamal Khashoggi has led to self-sufficiency in some European countries about their sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia, long one of the largest buyers of sophisticated Western weapons. While The United States is ranked first among Saudi arms suppliers Europe has also sold billions of dollars for weapons to the kingdom for decades.

The European Parliament approved overwhelmingly a measure on Thursday member states to ban the sale of weapons and surveillance technology to Saudi people in response to the Khashoggi killings, but it is a non-binding measure and it remained unclear what practical effect it might have.

The resolution that the Members of the European Parliament also call for an independent investigation of the journalist’s killing and for all suspects to face a fair trial.

Press releases, but no action than

Complaints have been mounted in recent days, requiring such offers to be stopped: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that arms exports to Saudi Arabia “can not happen in the situation we are in “, referring to Khashoggi’s death. But despite the upset, no European country has yet taken concrete steps to change how business is done.

Spain’s prime minister said Wednesday that his government would meet earlier arms sales contracts with Saudi Arabia despite his “fear” of the “horrible murder” of Khashoggi earlier this month in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Pedro Sanchez told reporters to protect jobs in southern Spain central to his decision last month to continue a controversial bombing to Saudi Arabia.

In London, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May also rejected a call from opposition legislators to end arms sales to the Arab Empire and told Wednesday in Parliament that “the procedures we follow are among the most stringent in the world.”

Can the EU speak with one voice?

Spain, Germany, Italy and Switzerland each accounted for about two percent of Saudi Arabia’s arms imports between 201

3 and 2017, according to figures compiled by the Stockholm Non National Peace Research Institute or SIPRI. France accounted for about 4 percent, while Britain accounted for 23 percent of operations – behind the United States by 61 percent.

Merkel’s Finance Minister Peter Altmaier called Monday for a Common EU Position on Arms Selling to Saudi Arabia Arabia told a public broadcaster to “only if all European countries agree that this would give an impression on the government of Riyadh.”

Although Germany would stop exports, “it will not have any positive consequences … if at the same time other countries fill this gap,” he said.

The Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Wednesday that it was willing to discuss the German proposal. Petricek told neighbor Czech Republic that he also supported a discussion when he called the Saudi embassy ambassador to Prague to tell him: “Attack on journalists is unacceptable.”

However, the UK Department of Foreign Affairs stressed the difficulty of agreeing on a common EU position on Saudi arms exports when he pointed out last month that “With countries such as Saudi Arabia, countries like China, this is the way you make the most progress to talk with them privately.”

“If you talk about these things publicly, you lose access, they say “we do not want to deal with you” and you put yourself in a position where you have no influence over what’s happening ” told Jeremy Hunt Sky News.

Russia could enter as Saudi new weapon supplier

If the West stops its sale, a country that can enter Russia.

Russian and Saudi officials discussed possible arms sales including S-400 air defense systems during a landmark visit of K Saudi Arabia has also expressed interest in setting up production of Russian grain EM-tank missiles, TOS-1A rocket launchers and AGS-30 automatic grenade boxer and the latest version. of the Kalashnikov violence in their country. It is unclear if any of these agreements are approaching implementation.

Russia’s careful attitude toward the Khashoggi assassination could change it, experts say.

Kirill Semenyov, a Middle East expert at the Foreign Affairs Council, advised the Saudi people to look for alternatives like Russia if one of their most important partners would withdraw from the agreement.

“If the United States or Britain were to renegrate on the contract to deliver fighter aircraft or other weapons of thought, it would be a serious blow that would drive Saudi Arabia to buy arms from Russia like T-90 tanks or Su-35 plans” , he said.

A large Russian business delegation on Tuesday came to an investment conference in Riyadh to show that Moscow is undiscovered by the charges against the royal family.

Kirill Dmitriev, chairman of the state-owned Russian direct investment fund, told the state Rossiya 24 channel that “Saudi partners appreciate our balanced position”. “We continue to work with Saudi Arabia’s investment fund and other partners,” he added.

Dmitriev liked the Khashoggi investigation to kill recent accusations against Russia about the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain and cyber attacks around 19659002 The French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Wednesday that Paris will approve sanctions against Saudi Arabia only if it is proven that they are going to blame in the world.

“There is much speculation and overriding information around”. journalist’s killing.

“As long as these facts are not confirmed by our intelligence services, we will hold back our response,” says Griveaux. ” But when the light is made, these facts are confirmed by our services and in the event that Saudi Arabia’s responsibility is proven, then we will draw the consequences and we will make sanctions. And I’ll tell you something, it would not be just weapons. Diederik Cops, a scientist at the Flemish Peace Institute in Belgium, suggested that the European focus on military goods would have been more appropriate years ago in the context of the conflict in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is strong Depending on foreign weapons and equipment, it may have taken Khashoggi death to force a change, he said.

“Most governments are threatening their arms and questioning arms exports because they know it’s the strongest … political pressure instrument they can currently use the Saudis, “he says.

However, he added that it is hard to say about a global initiative to ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia because of geopolitical and economic factors.

Legal groups have long been called the unethical multibillion dollar’s US and European arms sales to Saudi Arabia, for decades one of the world’s largest purchasers of weapons. They point to the growing number of civilian casualties in Jemmen’s ongoing civil war where the Saudi leaders lead a mostly Arab coalition against Iranian-supported Shiite rebels, called Houthis.

Claims that the agreements should be suspended have often appeared in the wake of US support, Saudi-led coalitionist fighting against Iranian-supported Shiite rebels in Yemen. Airstrikes has killed hundreds of Yemeni civilians, including women and children, since the beginning of the war in 2015.

After August 19459005, airstrike hit a bus that carried Yemeni children on their way to school in the north of the country and killed more than 40, said Human Rights Watch that the event emphasized “the great indifference of the Western forces who enthusiastically armed the Saudi-led coalition.”

On Wednesday, Spanish activists protested outside the parliament with bomb-shaped signs that read “Deciding to kill.”

Haizam Amirah Fernandez, an expert on the Madrid-based think tank Elcano Royal Institute, said Saudi Arabia’s current leadership “is aware that it has done bold rose in the last three plus years with absolute impunity “because the White House is its largest carrier.

“Everyone else, including Europeans, looks at Washington to see what signals are coming from the White House for support to the Saudi Arabian monarchy.” The signal so far has been an unacceptable support with a modest criticism of Saudi Arabia, “said Amirah Fernandez .

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