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Rights groups to bring legal action against France over arms sales to Saudi, UAE

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Rights groups to bring legal action against France over arms sales to Saudi, UAE
Two human rights groups campaigning for a halt to French arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE say they are taking their case to France's highest legal authority.
Legal non-governmental organization Droit Solidarite and Aser, which specializes in armament issues, had given Prime Minister Edouard Philippe a two-month ultimatum in March to suspend licenses for arms sales to the Persian Gulf states.
Having received no response, the groups said they would present a legal challenge on Monday to the Conseil d’Etat, France’s highest legal authority, which advises the government on legislative matters and arbitrates on public policy issues.
"It will be up to (Council of State) to decide on the legality of the export license authorizations issued by the prime minister," Aser et Droit Solidarite said in a statement.
The two rights bodies argue that France is breaking international law by providing weapons for the Saudi-led aggression against war-ravaged Yemen and subsequently committing war crimes there.  
In March, Amnesty International and French human rights group ACAT published a legal report warning that Paris and its weapons suppliers faced potential legal risks over their dealings with Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Two human rights groups have threatened France with legal action over weapons sales to parties in the Yemen war.
Norway has already suspended arms exports to the United Arab Emirates. The German government has also said it would “immediately” stop weapons exports to anyone participating in the war in Yemen.
France, the world’s third-biggest arms exporter, counts Saudi Arabia and the UAE among its major purchasers, and France’s biggest defense firms, including Dassault and Thales, have major contracts in the Persian Gulf.
The European country has sold Caesar artillery guns and ammunition, sniper rifles and armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Reuters