MEPs have voted for a European Union-wide arms embargo against Saudi Arabia to protest against the Gulf state’s heavy bombing campaign in Yemen.
The European parliament voted by a large majority for an EU-wide ban on arms sales to the kingdom, citing the “disastrous humanitarian situation” as a result of “Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen”.
The vote does not compel EU member states to act but it does increase pressure on Riyadh, in the wake of criticism from the UN and growing international alarm over civilian casualties in Yemen.
The resolution also turns up the heat on the British government, which has supplied export licences for up to £3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia in the last year. The UK has been accused of direct involvement in the bombing campaign through the deployment of UK military personnel to the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia began bombing in Yemen last March to support the Yemeni president, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was under threat from Houthi forces aligned with Iran.