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Wed 16 Mar 2016 12:01 PM

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Dutch parliament votes to ban weapon exports to Saudi Arabia

Dutch bill cited a UN report on Yemen and ongoing executions in Saudi Arabia as reasons for the ban

Dutch parliament votes to ban weapon exports to Saudi Arabia
People gather at the site of a suicide car bombing outside Yemens presidential palace in the city of Aden, on January 28, 2016. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Dutch parliament passed a bill on Tuesday calling for the government of the Netherlands to halt weapon exports to Saudi Arabia, citing ongoing violations of humanitarian law in Yemen.

The Dutch vote effectively seeks to implement a decision in February by the European Parliament, which called on countries in the European Union to impose an arms embargo against Riyadh.

Around 6,000 people have been killed since Saudi-led troops entered the conflict in Yemen last March, almost half of them civilians, according to the United Nations.

The Dutch bill cited a UN report from Jan. 22 by the Panel of Experts on Yemen and ongoing executions in Saudi Arabia as reasons for the ban.

It asked the government to strictly implement the weapons embargo and not to licence dual-use exports that could be used to violate human rights.

Britain and France are the main European suppliers of arms to Saudi Arabia. Germany licensed arms exports of almost $200 million to the Sunni kingdom in the first six months of 2015, the latest economy ministry data available. Dutch figures were not immediately available.

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