SANA’A – The Foreign Minister of Austria, Karen Kniessel, has called for an EU-wide weapons embargo against Saudi Arabia, stating that “this step will help end the terrible war in Yemen.”
Kniessel made the statement during an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, in which she also stated that “the suspension of arms deliveries proposed by Chancellor Merkel will be a sound signal”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had made a statement earlier announcing German plans to cease all weapons trade with Riyadh.
“”If the EU completely stops selling arms to Saudi Arabia, this can help end these conflicts,” the Austrian Foreign Minister said, referring directly to the war against Yemen and the continuing tensions between the Saudi kingdom and Qatar. Kniessel also mentioned the recent murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, claiming it to be the culmination of “severe deterioration in human rights conditions in Saudi Arabia.”
Austria is currently serving a six-month term as the head of the European Union, which is a position fulfilled by national governments of member states rather than by one individual. On Thursday, the European Parliament already passed a resolution calling for its member states to ban weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Aside from Germany, major weapons producers and exporters within the EU include France and Belgium.