17:23 GMT07 April 2020
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    The United Kingdom's reaction to the resolution passed by the European Parliament calling for an arms embargo to be imposed against Saudi Arabia was predictable.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik), Alexander Mosesov — The support provided to Riyadh by London helps the country to retain influence in the region, the executive director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) told Sputnik on Friday.

     On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for an arms embargo against Saudi Arabia due to its operation in Yemen, passing by 359 to 212 votes. Later in the day, a Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) spokesperson told Sputnik that London is aware of the resolution but it is content with the UK arms export system.

    "This response from the British government is absolutely predictable. There is a strong belief in Whitehall [the British civil service] that the British defense industry depends upon exports to Saudi Arabia, and the strategic support the UK gives to Riyadh benefits UK influence in the region," Paul Ingram said.

    Ingram added that the relationship between the two kingdoms is "deep, but also has embarrassing elements, so that much of it is kept in the shadows."

    The resolution was produced in response to Saudi Arabia's operation in Yemen, which has been engulfed in a military conflict between the government headed by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and Shiite Houthi rebels since 2014.

    A Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Arab countries launched airstrikes against the Houthis in March last year at Hadi's request.

    In January, the UK government released arms sales statistics demonstrating that British arms companies had boosted their sales to Saudi Arabia by more than 100 times over the course of last year — from contracts worth 9 million pounds (almost $13 million) in April-June 2015 to over 1 billion pounds ($1.43 billion) in July-September.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Tags:
    embargo, trade deal, European Union, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom
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