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Germany reaffirms freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Merkel says she wants to see more European partners join Germany in stopping weapons exports to Saudi Arabia

12.12.2018
Germany reaffirms freeze on arms sales to Saudi Arabia

By Ayhan Simsek

BERLIN

Germany reaffirmed on Wednesday that it would continue a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is clarified.

Chancellor Angela Merkel told lawmakers during a parliament session that currently no weapons are exported to Saudi Arabia from Germany.

“We had already adopted a very restrictive policy in our coalition agreement regarding arms sales to Saudi Arabia due to Yemen [conflict],” Merkel said, referring to the coalition deal signed in March between her Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrat Party (SPD).

“Unfortunately only very few European partners have adopted a similar policy,” Merkel said.

“It would be very desirable if we could also achieve a common European approach here,” she added.

The chancellor also promised to close loopholes in the German legislation, which could be used by companies to continue their weapons exports, despite bans imposed by the government.

Following the Oct. 2 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, German government announced that it halted all arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

But local media reported recently that a leading German defense firm used its subsidiaries in Italy and South Africa to bypass the export control system and continued its weapons exports to Saudi Arabia.

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