Macron defends French arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Macron defends French arms sales to Saudi Arabia

President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday defended French weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday defended French weapons sales to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

"Between now and the summer a joint conference will be held on Yemen to clarify what is being done and what needs to be done," Macron said at a news conference alongside visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

When asked about civilian casualties, Prince Mohammed said the coalition was doing everything to avoid civilian casualties in Yemen, but that mistakes were inevitable in conflicts.

Pressure has been mounting on Macron to scale back arms support for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Yemen conflict has killed more than 10,000 people and displaced more than 3 million, with no sign of a diplomatic breakthrough to ease the crisis.

Seventy-five percent of French people want Macron to suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, a YouGov poll found.

"Since the start of the conflict in Yemen, France has adopted a very specific process whereby all sales of military equipment are analysed on a case-by-case basis and on the basis of reinforced criteria that reflect respect for international humanitarian law and the risk of harm to civilian populations," said Macron.

France is the world's third biggest arms exporter and counts the two countries among its biggest purchasers.

The comments came at the end of Prince Mohammed’s three-day official visit to France, which saw French and Saudi companies signing draft agreements worth a total of €14.5 billion ($18 billion), according to a French-Saudi business forum.



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