Germany halts arms sales to Saudi Arabia

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Following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arbian embassy in Istanbul on October 2nd, Germany’s chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany will halt all arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The move is the second time this year that Germany has stopped arms sales to Saudi Arabia - in March 2018, the German government banned future arms sales to countries involved in the war in Yemen, a decision that soured relationships between Germany and Saudi Arabia. In mid-September Germany approved the sale of four artillery positioning systems for armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The European Parliament also passed a non-binding resolution urging European-wide arms embargo in the wake of the of the murder. However, the French President Emmanuel Macron said “What is the link between arms sales and Mr Khashoggi? … One shouldn't mix everything up". In 2017 France exported $14.7bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. Other countries have also refused to suspend arms sales in response to Khashoggi’s murder. Donald Trump has made it clear that he would “not be in favour of stopping a country from spending $110bn…” The charity Save the Children called on the UK government to ban sales.

Though Germany only exports a relatively small number of arms directly to Saudi Arabia – just 2% of all imports - the decision could have a more dramatic impact because Germany also constructs components used by other countries, according to the Reuters news agency. For example, a third of all of the components in a £10 billion order of 48 Eurofighter-Typhoon’s being built in the UK come from Germany. The decision could also threaten jobs at a shipyard in north-eastern Germany, where a number of patrol boats are under construction.

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