Saudi Arabia: Spain rejects arms embargo requested by Catalan parties
Socialists and PP vote against proposal by pro-independence groups and Podemos
The Spanish parliament has rejected imposing an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia, as requested by Catalan pro-independence parties and left-wing Podemos.
The proposal was rejected with the votes of the ruling Socialist party, headed by Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, as well as those of People’s Party (PP), the main opposition group.
Catalonia’s PDeCAT and Esquerra Republicana (ERC) demanded Spain "suspend current contracts with Saudi Arabia" and reject future deals, while Podemos wanted the government to find an alternative client and provide funds to compensate for the lost deal.
The Spanish government faces harsh criticism from some of its political allies for not taking retaliatory measures against the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in the spotlight over the death of the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
"These obligations were created by the previous government, and yet they comply with legal requirements both nationally and internationally"
Pedro Sánchez · Spain's president
"Notwithstanding the gravity of these terrible events, which I fully condemn, this shouldn't impede us from acting responsibly," said Sánchez in his parliamentary speech on Wednesday. "These obligations were created by the previous government, and yet they comply with legal requirements both nationally and internationally."
Germany announced a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia on Sunday, after the country’s official account of Khashoggi’s death left many unconvinced.
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly refuted Saudi claims that the dissident journalist died in a fight in its Istanbul consulate, claiming he had been the victim of a "savage" and premeditated murder.
Saudi Arabia's third-largest provider
Spain provided 4.19% of all weapons purchased by Saudi Arabia from 2012 to 2016, third only after the US and the UK, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. In the same period, Saudi Arabia was Spain’s second largest client, with 12.38% of all arms exports.