Belgium calls for canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia

  23 October 2018    Read: 1143
Belgium calls for canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Belgium should take Germany as an example and stop the selling of weapons to Saudi Arabia, Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking to local VRT radio station, De Croo called on his country to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia over the gruesome killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“The arm export decision was taken by the regional parliaments, therefore, they don’t have authority other than to advise. We shouldn’t hide behind the EU. We should take Germany as an example and stop the arms sales to Saudi Arabia,” De Croo said.

"Stopping the arm exports would also contribute to prevent dozens of people from losing their lives in Yemen every day,” he added.

The Walonia region -- one of the three main regions of Belgium -- led the sales to Saudi Arabia with over $153 million euros last year.

Germany announced on Sunday that it would stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia amid doubts over Riyadh’s explanation on the killing of journalist Khashoggi.

Chancellor Angela Merkel demanded urgent clarification on Khashoggi’s killing, saying: “As far as arms exports are concerned, those can’t take place in the current conditions.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is expected to ban the arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite the opposition of President Donald Trump.

“Canada would cancel the defense agreement valued of $15 billion with Saudi Arabia,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at the parliament in capital Ottowa.

Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2 when he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

After days of denying to know his whereabouts, Saudi Arabia on Saturday claimed Khashoggi died during a fight inside the consulate.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Tuesday that all information and evidence that has been revealed so far showed that Khashoggi was the victim of a premeditated, "savage" murder.

On the day of Khashoggi’s disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.

A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the consul general as well as the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.


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