• Germany edition
 
Niebel says arms sales 'compatible' with human rights
Photo: DPA

Niebel says arms sales 'compatible' with human rights

Published: 20 Jul 2011 14:10 GMT+02:00
Updated: 20 Jul 2011 14:10 GMT+02:00

Development Minister Dirk Niebel has waded into the controversy surrounding a deal to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia, saying German weapons exports can be compatible with human rights by stabilizing an entire region.

In an interview with the weekly Die Zeit newspaper, Niebel said he could not comment on specifically on reports that the government intends to sell Leopard 2 battle tanks to the Middle Eastern Kingdom, but said Berlin would not make such a decision lightly.

“Generally the government considers all necessary aspects when making such decisions – including the political situation of the entire region. Germany has a high standing there,” he said.

And when asked whether such a trade would be consistent with his ministry’s position on human rights, he said, “The stabilisation of a region contributes to the defence of human rights – perhaps not in the country in which one is active, but in the neighbouring countries.”

When the interviewers asked whether this also included military goods, he said, “It is not always as simple as it seems. Remember the Cold War. Military deterrence contributed to the fact that war did not happen.”

Yet more transparency in Germany’s arms export policies would be extremely welcome, enabling parliamentarians to have a say in strategy, said Roderich Kiesewetter, an arms expert from the Christian Democratic Union who chairs the parliamentary committee on disarmament and arms control.

In a separate interview with Die Zeit he said, “It would be helpful if we in the committee were informed timely, and not only one-and-a-years later, when the arms export report is presented.”

He called for a national security strategy to be developed, and for it to be discussed annually in parliament.

This would determine to which countries arms could be exported, he said. “Economic policy interests are important but they are not decisive,” he said, calling for the government to withstand the tension between values and economic interests in determining foreign policy.

Turning to other issues in the interview, Niebel also defended what seemed like a paltry German donation of €6 million emergency aid sent to the famine-stricken Horn of Africa region – a tenth of what Britain has sent.

He said longer-term projects in the region were already up and running, with for example €138 million available over three years for agricultural support in Kenya.

When asked about his initial comments on taking over the ministry – that he wanted to abolish it – Niebel said he had radically changed the way it worked, and that development issues affected all governmental areas – education, health, environment, security and economy. It was time to pull development out of what he said had been a soft niche.

He also defended the €113.8 million increase in his budget for 2012, way below the €1.2 billion which a group of 360 MPs had demanded be the development ministry increase. Niebel said the fact that his budget had gone up at all in such austere times was a clear political signal from the government.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:32 July 20, 2011 by ChrisRea
"German weapons exports can be compatible with human rights by stabilizing an entire region"

So if you stabilize a government which breaks human rights, then this operation can be compatible with human rights? What type of logic is this?
20:44 July 20, 2011 by Joseph Thomas
If another free country is exporting weapons to a region, then it "might" destabilize that region. But if it's MY country making profit over exports to a region, then it's sure to have a stabilizing effect!
07:18 July 21, 2011 by tamakela
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
08:18 July 21, 2011 by Englishted
@tamakela

What ever you think of the article,your last statement is a completely untrue generalization and if you lived here you would know ,please don't be so ignorant .
12:47 July 21, 2011 by Krim
Controlling weapons exports is a global problem and should be solved on a global level. If Germany decide not to sell, another country will........

Russia, China ........

Niebel is talking non sense. The government of Saudi Arabia and human rights is a long sad story....The difference between the Whahhabites in Saudia Arabia and the Taliban in Afghanistan is about money and oil . The brains are shaped the same way...
09:29 July 24, 2011 by Sastry.M
If Herr Niebel admits that WMDs (Waffen der Massen Vernichtung) really scared his western allies and their declared war has destabilized Arabian Peninsula he do well by resorting to diplomacy by allaying the Arabian fears and win contracts for sale of safer products to beget better dividends.
Today's headlines
Jobless benefits to get leaner and meaner
Photo: DPA

Jobless benefits to get leaner and meaner

The German government is planning a shake-up of the country’s unemployment benefit system, Hartz IV, by introducing stricter rules on claimants in a move which supporters say will cut bureaucracy. READ () »

Germany's oldest woman dies aged 112
Gertrud Henze. Photo: DPA

Germany's oldest woman dies aged 112

Germany’s oldest woman died at the age of 112 on Tuesday. Gertrud Henze was born on December 8th 1901 and joked her long life was down to never getting married. READ () »

Exchange student 'murderer' stays silent
Police search the area near where Gabriele's body was found in October 2013. Photo: DPA

Exchange student 'murderer' stays silent

The alleged murderer of an exchange student in southern Germany stayed silent in the dock on Tuesday on the first day of his trial. READ () »

European Elections 2014
'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Hans-Olaf Henkel (r) celebrates the one-year anniversary of the AfD with leader Bernd Lücke. Photo: DPA

'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'

In an interview with The Local, one of the leaders of Germany's eurosceptic party talks about Europe's future, why Britain is a model country and why he will not work with UKIP's Nigel Farage. READ () »

Girls find live munition in Easter bonfire
Nane, with her father and a picture of the cartridge-laden wood. Photo: DPA

Girls find live munition in Easter bonfire

Two 12-year-old German girls found live ammunition lodged into a branch in an Easter bonfire. It was due to be lit the next day, potentially igniting the cartridges and causing disaster. READ () »

Opinion
'Fracking won't save Germany from Putin'
Photo: DPA

'Fracking won't save Germany from Putin'

Germany's reliance on Russian gas continues to limit the nation's diplomatic leverage in the Ukraine crisis. But as leaders once again explore fracking as an alternative, critics told The Local the risks were too high. READ () »

German rapper-turned-jihadist 'killed in Syria'
Deso Dogg. Photo: YouTube screenshot

German rapper-turned-jihadist 'killed in Syria'

UPDATE: A German former rapper who joined jihadists fighting in Syria was reported dead on Tuesday by jihadist sources, but hours later some retracted the claim, saying he was still alive. READ () »

Have Your Say
Who should pay for Germany’s roads?
Photo: DPA

Who should pay for Germany’s roads?

A top politician's suggestion that drivers should be charged €100 a year towards the upkeep of Germany's roads was met with derision on Tuesday. But how should Germany fill the black hole it its infrastructure budget? READ () »

Tax income hits March record
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Tax income hits March record

A record amount of cash flowed into German government coffers in March thanks to land, beer and incomes taxes, a monthly report from the finance ministry revealed on Tuesday. READ () »

Union bosses call for later starts in World Cup
Photo: DPA

Union bosses call for later starts in World Cup

German unions called on Tuesday for shift workers to be granted later starts during the football World Cup in Brazil this summer. Some of the matches begin at midnight due to the time difference. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Nine ways to celebrate Easter like a German
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
School kids hospitalized after 'porno' party
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Munich's baby polar bears are finally named
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Hult International Business School
Sponsored Article
What they don't teach you at Business School
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,050
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd