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Germany Exports Weapons to Saudi-Led Alliance in 2019

2019-06-19 - 5:45 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): The German government has given the green light for arms shipments worth over €1 billion so far this year to the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. The approval comes despite export restrictions being in place.

The German government has approved more than €1 billion ($1.1 billion) this year in defense exports to members of the Saudi-led coalition directly involved in the war in Yemen, German news agency dpa reported, quoting a document from the country's Ministry for Economic Affairs.  

It showed that Berlin approved 56 defense export deals between January 1 and June 5, including €801.8 million worth of exports to Egypt and €26.1 million worth of exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to the document, Berlin also approved two defense deals with Saudi Arabia during the period, despite a ban. Ulrich Nussbaum, a senior official in the ministry, said the deals included €831,000 worth of armored vehicles.

The document was issued by the ministry in response to a request for information by Omid Nouripour, a lawmaker belonging to the opposition Green Party.

Last year, Germany imposed a temporary halt on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the assassination of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Berlin also cited the four-year war in Yemen when it suspended arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has headed an alliance of Arab states - including Egypt and the UAE - fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

France and the UK, for instance, have pressed Germany to lift restrictions.  There is also evidence that Germany's arms export controls are ineffectual: In February, investigations by DW and others revealed that German weapons were being used in Yemen, despite the controls.

A report released by the Sweden-based Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March showed that Saudi Arabia bought more weapons from abroad than any other country in the world, accounting for 12% of global arms imports.

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