Angela Merkel Suspends Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia
Berlin: Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced the suspension of German arms sales to Saudi Arabia, saying they cannot be undertaken in the current circumstances, a reference to the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi who disappeared on October 2 and whom Riyadh has admitted died inside its consulate in Istanbul. “Regarding weapons exports, these cannot take place at this time,” said Merkel in Berlin after meeting with top officials from her party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
Merkel earlier had condemned Khashoggi’s death in a joint communique with her Social Democratic Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas. The German leader emphasized that the evolving explanations given to date by Riyadh for the journalist’s death were insufficient, adding that Berlin will undertake to coordinate with its partners to adopt a common position vis-a-vis the Saudi government.
Maas, meanwhile, said in remarks to Germany’s Channel 1 that after Khashoggi’s death there was no basis for approving future arms exports to the Middle Eastern kingdom. Although Maas had criticized Berlin’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia in recent months, weapons exports are within the purview of Germany’s Economy Ministry, not the Foreign Ministry. (IANS)