October 23, 2018 / 5:38 PM / 23 days ago

Spain's parliament backs arms sales to Saudi Arabia

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s parliament voted on Tuesday against blocking arms sales to Saudi Arabia, despite increasing international pressure to punish Riyadh for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Spain’s socialist government said on Saturday it was “dismayed” by the death of the Saudi journalist but it decided to join forces with the main opposition party, the conservative People’s Party, to defeat a parliamentary motion that called on the government to stop such trade.

Spanish arms sales to Saudi Arabia were already in the spotlight last month when the Spanish government announced it would halt the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to Riyadh only to reverse its decision a few days later.

According to Spanish media, Saudi Arabia had threatened to cancel a 1.8 billion euro ($2 billion) contract with Spain to buy warships if the bomb sale did not take place.

Reporting by Belen Carreno, writing by Andrés González; Edited by Julien Toyer and Robin Pomeroy

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