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Germany reduces arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Germany reduces arms sales to Saudi Arabia

The German government approved two arms sales to Saudi Arabia in the first six months of the year, worth a total of €831,003 ($915,817), according to Economy Ministry figures released on Wednesday. Details of what was sold were not included in the report.

In the equivalent period of 2018, Saudi Arabia was Germany’s third biggest customer, after Algeria and the United States, mainly buying naval boats. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration approved five arms sales to the Middle Eastern kingdom from January to June 2018, worth a total of €161,874,673.

Saudi Arabia has continually been accused of human rights abuses, and the murder of Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul prompted a public outcry that led Germany to pledge to end arms exports to the kingdom.

The government had already pledged to end arms exports to “countries directly involved in the Yemen War” in its coalition contract made in early 2018, though some sales have continued since.

That pledge has since softened, as old arms deals are still being honored, and exports of arms goods that wouldn’t directly be used in the conflict are still being allowed. Saudi Arabia is also still buying weapons that are partially German-made, such as the Eurofighter plane and the MBDA ground-to-air missile systems that are built by a consortium of European companies.