World, Europe

German churches slam arms sales to S.Arabia, Egypt

Riyadh still receiving German weapons amid ongoing arms export ban

Oliver Towfigh Nia   | 17.12.2019
German churches slam arms sales to S.Arabia, Egypt FILE PHOTO

BERLIN

Germany's Catholic and Protestant churches on Tuesday lambasted the government for its weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Egypt.

Presenting the annual arms export report in Berlin, Simone Wisotzki of the the Joint Church and Development Conference (GKKE) said: "Algeria ranks first as the recipient country among the problematic third countries [non-EU and non-NATO] in 2018, in fourth place is Saudi Arabia.

"In the first half of 2019, Egypt takes a top position as a buyer of German arms exports among the third countries. Germany is cooperating with the military regime of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi that is being criticized for torturing opposition figures to death and kidnapping and killing dissidents. The United Arab Emirates could also count on individual export permits in 2019," she added.

Wisotzki highlighted that all three countries were part of the same coalition in the war in Yemen and continued to support forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar against Libya’s UN-recognized government, violating a UN embargo.

The GKKE is a non-profit group of Protestants and Catholics in Germany conducting research on peace and military conflict.

The German government has vowed to end arms exports to "countries directly involved in the Yemen War" in early 2018, though some sales have since continued.

However, that pledge has since been watered down, as old weapons deals are still being honored, and exports of arms that would not directly be deployed in the conflict are still being allowed.

Saudi Arabia is also still buying weapons that are partially German-made, such as the Eurofighter plane and the MBDA ground-to-air missile systems that are built by a consortium of European companies.

German human rights groups have also lamented the fact that German arms have been used against protesters in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

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