MPs to discuss scrapping controversial Saudi arms deal

MPs to discuss scrapping controversial Saudi arms deal

A day after a bitter clash in Parliament between the leftist-led government and the conservative opposition over a controversial defense deal with Saudi Arabia, the coalition appears poised to cancel the agreement.

Lawmakers from coalition partners SYRIZA and nationalist Independent Greeks rejected a request on Tuesday by opposition New Democracy to convene an emergency session of the House’s Military Procurements Committee so it could hear from the key people involved in the discussions to sell 300,000 anti-tank shells to Saudi Arabia.

The conservatives have suggested that the government was wrong to allow a middleman to be involved in the deal and that there are a several issues that raise questions about Defense Minister Panos Kammenos’s role.

The deal for 66 million euros’ worth of surplus Greek missiles has also come under fire from some SYRIZA members on the grounds that the ammunition may be used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.

Prominent SYRIZA MP Nikos Filis and Greek Communist Party lawmaker Thanasis Pafilis proposed on Tuesday to convene the committee in the next few days in order to discuss rescinding its approval of the deal, thus paving the way for it to be scrapped entirely. The proposal was accepted by the majority of MPs on the panel.

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