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Human rights organizations warn France against selling weapons to Saudi Arabia

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Human rights organizations said on Wednesday that a cargo ship intends to dock soon in a French port to load weapons intended for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, and urged French officials to ensure that these weapons are not used against civilians.

These organizations succeeded in preventing the same ship named “Bahri Yanbu” from anchoring in France last May, when it was preparing to receive a shipment of weapons to Riyadh, which angered activists.

France is heavily criticized for continuing to sell arms to the Saudi government, while the latter continues its five-year military operation in Yemen against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

This war has killed thousands, most of them civilians, according to human rights organizations. The United Nations has classified the Yemeni war as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

About 17 non-governmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Oxfam France, said that the “Bahri Yanbu” ship is scheduled to dock in the port of Sherbour on the northern coast of France on Thursday, and that it will stop at the ports of Chernas in Britain and Genoa in Italy.

The organizations called on France to determine what will be loaded on board the ship, which is said to be contracted exclusively with the Saudi Ministry of Defense.

And if the load was weapons, human rights organizations demanded “France guarantees that it will not be used unlawfully against Yemeni civilians.”

The French government has not formally commented on the nature of the shipment, but stresses that there is no evidence that civilians in Yemen are being targeted by Saudi Arabia, which is the largest buyer of French weapons in the Middle East.

French President Emmanuel Macron described Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which is participating in the war against the Houthis, as allies of his country in the war against “terrorism”.

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