Berlin (Deutsche Welle)
The Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir, expressed his criticism of the arms embargo imposed by Germany on his country due to the Yemen war, stressing that Riyadh has purchase options from several other countries. Al-Jubeir talked about the justifications for the Yemen war.
Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel Al-Jubeir criticized Germany’s arms embargo targeting his country, describing it as a “mistake” and “illogical”, but stressed at the same time that his country also did not need German military equipment. In this context, Al-Jubeir said, “The idea of stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the Yemen war is not logical.”
“We believe that this is a mistake because we believe that the war in Yemen is a legitimate war. It is a war that we were forced to fight,” the Saudi minister added in an interview with the German news agency (dpa). After being extended several times, the German ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia will be brought up again for discussion in the coming weeks, before the December 31st ban expires.
The two sides of the ruling coalition in Germany led by Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in the coalition treaty in March 2018 to stop arms exports to all parties “directly” participating in the Yemen war, but this agreement left many back doors open.
A complete arms export ban to Saudi Arabia was only implemented in November 2018 after the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country’s consulate in Turkey, and this ban was extended three times, the last of which resulted in an extension of the ban until the end of December 2020.
Before the embargo, Germany entered into active commercial activity with the Kingdom, and the volume of exports reached 254 million euros (about $ 300 million) in 2017. It is noteworthy that more than five years ago, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led a coalition of several Arab countries fighting the Houthi rebels. Backed by Iran in Yemen.
Al-Jubeir said, “We can buy weapons from a number of countries, and we do that. Saying that we will not sell weapons to Saudi Arabia does not make a difference to us.” The Saudi minister also confirmed that his country is the largest importer of weapons in the world, according to recent figures. “I’m just saying people need to look at this in a balanced way,” he added.
In early November, the German government had authorized the (Lorsen Werfet) marine arsenal to export nine patrol boats and a coastal protection boat to Egypt with a value of 130 million euros. At the time, speculation arose that these boats were intended for Saudi Arabia, and were not supplied due to the ban on the export of weapons to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh had ordered 35 patrol boats from the German factory, from which seven boats were handed over until the imposition of the arms embargo.
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