US envoy for Iran traveling to Middle East: State Department


The war has killed tens of thousands, caused an outbreak of preventable diseases and brought the already impoverished nation to the verge of starvation.

Britain and France have been critical of Germany for this move as it will also affect the arms exports of other countries which use German components in the manufacturing. But it's possible to look at the past behaviour of the country that will receive the weapons, to make an assessment of its future conduct.

The UK government on Thursday suspended new arms deals with Saudi Arabia after a court ruled they were illegal.

Meanwhile, amid escalating tensions with Iran coloring the ongoing Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, the decisions have threatened the kingdom with losing its two largest arms suppliers, as both the U.S. and UK remain divided over selling arms to a regime responsible for perpetuating bloodshed in Yemen.

The arms sales to Saudi Arabia were approved in May after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited threats from Iran to declare an emergency and secure the approval.

However the transfer sparked fierce opposition on Capitol Hill from these that feared the weapons would be weak against civilians in Yemen by Saudi-led forces. Congressional leaders will have a White House Situation Room briefing later Thursday.

U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook met Saudi Arabia's Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman in Riyadh on Friday, the minister tweeted.

Earlier this year Congress passed a resolution to end United States support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, but it was vetoed by Trump and lawmakers failed to override his objection.

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Trump is expected to veto the measures.

The first and second resolutions of disapproval passed by a margin of 53-45 and a third vote, which covered a number of other resolutions relating to the arms sale, passed by 51-45 votes. Therefore, it is unexpected that any executive veto could be overridden by Congress.

The ruling does not halt Britain's arms exports but means the granting of new licences will be paused. Prince Khalid affirmed Saudi support for the U.S. campaign to pressure Tehran.

The UK has licensed over £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the bombing began in March 2015 but ministers will now have to reconsider export licences.

It did not rule on whether the United Kingdom or Saudi Arabia had breached global humanitarian law - just that the United Kingdom should have taken the matter into consideration when granting the licences.

By neglecting these risks, the United Kingdom government ignored its own guidance and was "keenly alive to the question of possible violation of IHL [international humanitarian law] and its impact on continued supply of weapons".

Handing down the ruling, Etherton said the government made "no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of worldwide humanitarian law in the past, during the Yemen conflict".