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Spain to hold talks with Saudi Arabia over bomb sale, after halting it

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By Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain said on Monday it would hold talks with Saudi Arabia over the sale of 400 laser-guided bombs to the Gulf kingdom, after confirming last week it was halting the shipment because of the Saudi role in the war in Yemen.

“Decisions will be made according to a bilateral framework between two countries that are partners and have signed a contract and it will be resolved amicably,” Defence Minister Margarita Robles said in the Spanish Senate.

On Tuesday the ministry said it was halting the sale of the bombs amid concerns about their use in the conflict in Yemen.

On Monday, Robles said the contract was under revision and that the Spanish government would respect the Charter of the United Nations regarding human rights.

Amnesty International and other human rights groups have denounced Western arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies, fighting a war in Yemen which the United Nations says has killed more than 10,000 people and left 8.4 million on the brink of famine.

The defence ministry said last month it had never sold arms that could be used against a civilian population and condemned the killing of non-combatants in Yemen. It said it would review any sales that had not yet been closed and which could involve weapons that could be used against civilians.

Robles said on Monday the potential sale of the 400 bombs was not linked to a framework agreement to sell the Gulf Arab state warships, a deal estimated to be worth around 1.8 billion euros.

(Reporting by Jesús Aguado; Editing by Andrew Roche)