EU Parliament seeks Saudi Arabia arms embargo

Strasbourg, France – The European Parliament demanded an EU-wide arms embargo against Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, condemning his death in the “strongest possible terms” in a resolution passed Thursday.

The Washington Post columnist and sharp critic of the Saudi regime was killed inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, which he entered on October 2.

Riyadh acknowledged the death on Saturday, following global outrage, and promised a full investigation. On Thursday, Saudi Arabia’s chief prosecutor said the suspects acted “with a premeditated intention.”

The parliament called Thursday for an “impartial, international investigation into his death (…) and for those responsible to be brought to justice,” according to a statement.

“The murder is unlikely to have happened without the knowledge or control of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,” lawmakers noted.

On Wednesday, Prince Mohammed condemned Khashoggi’s killing as a “heinous and very painful” crime, vowing that justice would prevail.

In addition to an EU arms embargo, the parliament also called on member states to stand ready to impose targeted sanctions on Saudi individuals once the facts of the case have been established.

Germany has announced a suspension of new arms sales to Saudi Arabia in response to the killing, but other countries including France and Spain have not followed suit.

The British government has also come under pressure to halt arms sales to Riyadh, but is considered unlikely to jeopardize a business worth at least 1.4 billion dollars annually.

The parliament resolution was passed by 325 votes in favour, one against and 19 abstentions, during a plenary session in the French city of Strasbourg.