Belgium Considers Suspending Arms Sales to Saudi


Brussels, MINA – Belgian leaders are considering suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia, after a report said the weapons were used in Yemen.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders told RTBF on Saturday. “I think it would be good to suspend the shipment of weapons to Saudi Arabia, if it is proven they used them in ongoing conflicts, such as in Yemen”.

In this case, he said the regional Walloonian Government must make that decision.

Belgian Constitution places responsibility for such decisions in the producer region, in this case Wallonia, which owns FN Herstal arms factory.

Regional President Willy Borsus told RTBF, could suspend existing weapons export licenses if their conditions violated.

Belgian newspaper Le Soir said on Wednesday an investigation showed Ryadh had used Belgian weapons and technology in an operation against Houthi rebels in Yemen, which has killed tens of thousands people.

The battle has triggered what the United Nations described as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, with 3.3 million people still displaced and 24.1 million more in need of assistance.

The problem of arms sales has divided European government, with French President Emmanuel Macron defending the sale as part of war on terrorism.

However, Germany suspended arms sales to Riyadh after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, causing problems for European partners because it could affect jointly produced weapons.

A diplomatic source said the issue would be discussed on Monday by European Union foreign ministers, in Brussels, because Saudi Arabia also supports Libyan rebel leader Khalifa Haftar in his efforts to overthrow in Tripoli which has EU support.

European Union has also committed to enforcing the UN arms embargo on Libya. (T/Sj/P2)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)