Germany Freezes Arms Exports to Saudi Arabia Over Jamal Khashoggi’s Death

Marisha Dolly Singh
Merkel's announcement comes in the backdrop of two electoral reverses suffered by the ruling coalition led by CDU in the provincial polls held in Hesse and Bavaria.

Riyadh is facing growing condemnation over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and now countries are following up their words with actions. Germany is freezing arms exports to Saudi Arabia as every day brings up new grisly details over what is now almost obvious to be a pre-meditated murder.

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Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the arms freeze and said she will continue working with international allies to coordinate their response to Khashoggi’s murder inside a Saudi consulate.

“I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports [to Saudi Arabia] that they cannot take place in the current situation,” Merkel said, according to AFP.

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Germany last month approved $479 million worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for 2018. Berlin’s previous military exports to the kingdom primarily consisted of patrol boats, AFP reports.

Merkel also said there is “an urgent need to clear up” what happened to the prominent commentator on Saudi affairs. “We are far from seeing everything on the table and the perpetrators being brought to justice,” Merkel said.

German politicians have also called on Joe Kaeser, the CEO of German conglomerate Siemens, to withdraw from a Saudi investment conference planned this week. While other Western business leaders, as well as politicians, have pulled out due to the Khashoggi case, Siemens is one of the conference’s main partners. Kaeser’s predecessor at Siemens, Klaus Kleinfeld, is now economic adviser of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

But, even as European countries are carrying out these measures against Saudi Arabia, Riyadh’s main ally in the West – the U.S. is yet to move in any direction on the killing of Khashoggi. There seems to be growing bipartisan support among American legislators for sanctions against Saudi Arabia, to the extent of calling for the resignation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in the face of continuing vacillation from U.S. President Donald Trump.