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Germany may suspend arms deals to punish Saudi Arabia as Trump refuses



merkel trump mohammed bin salman
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supported suspending arms
exports to Saudi Arabia in light of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s
death – a move composite image of German Chancellor Angela
Merkel, US President Donald Trump, and Saudi Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman.


  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she supports the
    suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the
    killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • It is a step that President Donald Trump has
    signaled his opposition to, citing the value of US arms
    exports to the kingdom.
  • Germany’s exports to Saudi Arabia are significantly
    smaller than those from the US, but halting sales would still
    have an impact: Germany is the world’s fourth-largest arms
    exporter to Saudi Arabia.
  • Saudi Arabia is also Germany’s second-largest weapons
  • Suspending sales to the kingdom could be done with
    little fuss in Germany: Arms exports are subject to government
    approval, and other senior politicians agree with

German Chancellor Angela Merkel signaled that Germany will
suspend arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the
kingdom’s admission
to the death of Saudi journalist Jamal
— a step to punish Riyadh that Trump has repeatedly
said he won’t go near.

Merkel appeared dubious of Saudi Arabia’s claims that Khashoggi
died due to a rogue operation gone wrong, telling reporters in
Berlin on Sunday,
according to Politico
, that there was an “urgent need for
further clarification.”

She added, according to Politico: “As far as weapons
exports, which are already limited, are concerned, they cannot
take place in the same fashion as they are now.

Other senior German politicians, including foreign minister
Heiko Maas and foreign affairs committee chairman Norbert
Röttgen, have also called for a halt in arms sales to Saudi
Arabia, citing dissatisfaction with Riyadh’s explanation of how
Khashoggi died inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The German response to Khashoggi’s death comes in stark contrast
to that of the Trump administration.

Angela Merkel Donald Trump NATO
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Donald Trump at the NATO
Summit in July 2018 in Brussels.

Gallup/Getty Images

Shortly after Saudi Arabia admitted to Khashoggi’s death, Trump
said that he
did not want to ruin a “tremendous order”
of weapons from
Saudi Arabia, and that he would prefer “some form of

The €416 million ($479 million/£367 million) of arms
exports Germany approved to Saudi Arabia for this year pales in
comparison to the arrangement between the US and the

Trump heralded Saudi Arabia’s
purchase of $110 billion worth of US arms in 2017, though experts

say that figure is inflated
and some parts of the deal appear
still be up in the air.

But Germany’s decision does still come with financial
impact. Saudi Arabia is Germany’s second-largest weapons
customer, according to official data 

 by German
news agency DPA.

Angela Merkel German Military
Angela Merkel talks to German soldiers in Afghanistan in

Kugler/Bundesregierung-Pool via Getty Images

Germany is the world’s fourth-largest arms exporter to Saudi
Arabia, after the US, the UK, and France, Politico

In Germany, arms exports are subject to government approval,
including cabinet review, and Merkel has the support of
other German politicians, including those from other parties.

Maas, the German foreign minister, said on
Saturday that there was “no basis” for further exports of weapons
to Saudi Arabia and said there were “several contradictions” in
Saudi Arabia’s official explanation of the death.

Saudi Arabia said on Saturday
that Khashoggi was
involved in “a physical confrontation, which resulted in his

The kingdom has repeatedly blamed rogue agents inside the
consulate and sought to deny accusations that Crown
Prince Mohammad bin Salman
 was involved in the death.

But Maas, in a television interview with ARD on Saturday

“First it was stated that the Saudi journalist had left the
consulate, now it is stated that he did die.

“As long as these investigations are ongoing, as long as we
don’t know what has happened there, there is no basis on which we
can take positive decisions for arms exports to Saudi

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