Germany extends arms export ban on Saudi Arabia by one year

The German government has extended the arms export ban on Saudi Arabia by one year until the end of 2021 and even tightened it, dpa reported on Thursday.

Permits that have already been granted, which were previously only on hold, will be revoked, with the exception of supplies for European cooperation projects, a government spokeswoman told dpa on request.

The federal government will continue not to issue new permits for arms exports in the coming year, she said, but here too, as before, joint productions with European partners are excluded. However, in such projects, German companies must insist that the final assembled goods are not initially delivered to Saudi Arabia or the UAE.

The export ban on Saudi Arabia, which has been in force since 2018, has already been extended several times and was last set in March to 31 December 2020. The measure goes back to the coalition agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc and the junior partner Social Democrats (SPD), in which a complete arms export stop for all countries "directly" involved in the Yemen war was stipulated. However, the decision for Saudi Arabia was largely only implemented in November 2018 after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was critical of the Riyadh government, in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

For more than five years, the kingdom has led an alliance of Arab states fighting against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen. The war has resulted in one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters.

The Saudi leadership justified the intervention of the coalition it led with the fact that the legitimate government in Yemen had asked for it.

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