Germany Adds Six Months to Saudi Arms Export Ban
March 29, 2019
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has extended by six months an embargo on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia.
The ban has faced opposition from within the German government and the EU, but has the support of rights groups.
“The order to halt authorized weapons exports to Saudi Arabia is extended by six months from March 31 to September 30, 2019,” government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in a Thursday, March 29 statement. “Over this period no new export applications will be approved.”
But the government also agreed a nine-month extension for export licenses that have already been granted, provided that weapons systems are not delivered until the end of the year, meaning that manufacturers do not need to apply for a new license, Reuters reported.
The government also called on France and the U.K. to ensure that weapons delivered to Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates would not be deployed in Yemen, Deutsche Welle reported.
Berlin reacted to Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October by declaring a freeze on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries involved in the Yemen war.
Germany is among the world’s top arms exporters, a group led by the United States that also includes Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom. Germany’s arms exports to Saudi Arabia topped $105 million (€92.9 million) last year.
The ban, includes a 10 billion pound ($13.27 billion) deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh that would be led by Britain's BAE Systems. Germany’s decision forces French missile manufacturing company MBDA to stop exporting “Meteor” missiles to Saudi Arabia as well.