Since Scholz: No more arms exports to Saudi Arabia

Berlin (dpa) – The traffic light government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz has not approved any arms exports to Saudi Arabia since taking office in December. This emerges from a response from the Ministry of Economic Affairs to a request from Left-wing MP Sevim Dagdelen, which is available to the German Press Agency.

Before the change of government, 30 export licenses worth 2.52 million euros had been issued in 2021 despite an extensive export ban for the kingdom, which was ruled with a heavy hand. In 2020 there were even 51 approvals with a value of 30.75 million euros. These were special permits for joint projects with alliance partners.

The former federal government of Union and SPD had largely stopped arms exports to Saudi Arabia because of the kingdom’s involvement in the Yemen war, but also because of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate General in Istanbul in November 2018. However, she allowed exceptions for joint projects, which include the Eurofighter fighter jet, which was exported to Saudi Arabia by the British company BAE Systems. According to the export report, the export licenses issued by the federal government in 2020 and 2021 included “parts for combat aircraft, engines and ground equipment” that were most likely intended for the Eurofighter.

The new government of SPD, Greens and FDP continued the grand coalition’s export ban, but has so far not made use of the exemption. According to information from government circles, however, it continues.

Greens want to further restrict arms deliveries

The Greens have decided to further restrict arms deliveries to countries outside the EU and NATO with an export law. Scholz and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (both SPD), on the other hand, made it clear in keynote speeches last week that they were ready to relax the rules in order to facilitate European armaments projects.

Scholz is visiting Saudi Arabia on Saturday to kick off a two-day trip to the Gulf region, which will also include stops in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. For Qatar, the traffic light government has approved arms exports worth 20.7 million euros since taking office. Ten permits worth around 219,000 euros were issued for the United Arab Emirates. According to the ministry, these are “goods for hunting and sporting purposes as well as civil shipping”.

The UAE is part of the Saudi-led coalition that has supported the Yemeni government in its fight against Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015. The war has unleashed one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world today.

Dagdelen criticized the Chancellor’s trip to the Gulf States, which will deal, among other things, with cooperation with the Gulf States in the energy sector. “Chancellor Scholz is a traveling salesman with a shabby double standard that no longer wants gas and oil from Russia, but instead relies on energy deals with bloody dictatorships in the Gulf and threatens to pave the way for new arms deliveries ,” she said.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220924-99-878885/3

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