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Netherlands pledges to support UN arms embargo on Saudi Arabia

Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok (L) speaks to journalists as he reacts to the decision of Netherlands's Minister of Finance of not to travel to Saudi Arabia for a conference in The Hague, on October 18, 2018 [BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images]
Netherlands' Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok (L) speaks to journalists as he reacts to the decision of Netherlands's Minister of Finance of not to travel to Saudi Arabia for a conference in The Hague, on October 18, 2018 [BART MAAT/AFP/Getty Images]

The Netherlands has announced its intention to defend a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia in the UN Security Council.

Dutch Foreign Secretary Stef Blok made the announcement in a speech at the House of Representatives of the Netherlands on Thursday, in which he discussed a law which had been passed to ban arms exports to Riyadh against the backdrop of the war in Yemen.

Blok explained that the country’s ratification of the law requires that it also work accordingly in the United Nations. He expressed his regret at the situation in Yemen and stressed that the Netherlands is not involved in supplying arms to parties to the conflict, unlike France, the United States and Britain. Blok also pointed out that these parties do not want to impose a ban on arms, or take steps towards ending the Yemeni crisis.

The Foreign Secretary added that the situation in Yemen is “terrible and tragic” and that the Netherlands is seeking a ceasefire and the entry of humanitarian aid into the country. He also stressed that “the perpetrators responsible for the continuation of the war are committing a terrible crime”.

Read: US senators seek clampdown on Saudis over Yemen, journalist’s murder

Earlier on Thursday, the European Parliament renewed its call for further restrictions on the European Union (EU)’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia against the backdrop of the war in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The parliament said in a statement that: “Warships imported from EU countries are used to impose a blockade on Yemen, while aircraft and bombs are used in air raids that deepen the human tragedy.”

For nearly four years, Yemen has witnessed a war between government forces – backed by the Saudi-UAE coalition – on the one hand and the Houthi rebels – who since 2014 have been in control of several provinces including Sana’a – on the other.

The situation in Yemen has been labelled as one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with the war causing dire humanitarian and health conditions which have left most of the country’s population in need of assistance, according to the United Nations.

Read: Saudi-led coalition halts assault on Yemen’s Hudaydah

 

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