15:09 GMT24 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Richard Ferrand, the head of the ruling La Republique en Marche! (REM) party's faction in the National Assembly of France, said on Tuesday that he did no see why the country's arms sales to Saudi Arabia should be prohibited.

    "I think we should maintain clear, frank and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, even if only to keep equilibrium in the region and globally… I don't see why that [the arms sales to Riyadh] should be forbidden," Ferrand told the franceinfo broadcaster when asked if such trade were possible.

    Ferrand clarified that it would depend on what these arms were to be used in the future, but affirmed that, for him, there was no "particular question" over the arms sales.

    "The relationship between France and Saudi Arabia is one of trust, which should be continued. Besides… Saudi Arabia is boosting its relationship with the administration of [US President Donald] Trump, and, therefore, it is important that we have a relationship with this big country [Saudi Arabia], which is a power of the equilibrium in that region of the world," Ferrand added.

    READ MORE: Activists Block Alleged UK Missile Plant Producing Projectiles for Saudi Arabia

    The comment was made after on April 8, France and Saudi Arabia concluded a new intergovernmental agreement on weapons deals, as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrived in France for a three-day visit.

    Saudi Arabia has faced criticism from human rights watchdogs over the military campaign it is leading in Yemen to support one side of the civil conflict in the country. In the United Kingdom, activists turned to the courts to halt the sales of arms to Riyadh, however, the request was rejected.

    READ MORE: Houthis Claim Yemen President 'Simply Tool' in Saudi Arabia's Hands

    arms sales, France, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
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