• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Germany 'may review' arms exports to Saudis
Sigmar Gabriel says Germany was right not to sell Saudi Arabia the G36 rifle. Photo: DPA

Germany 'may review' arms exports to Saudis

AFP · 4 Jan 2016, 17:06

Published: 04 Jan 2016 17:06 GMT+01:00

Berlin also urged Saudi Arabia and Iran to restore diplomatic relations after 47 people were executed, including a Shiite cleric, which sparked attacks on the Saudi embassy in mainly Shiite Iran followed by a severing of official ties between the regional powers.

Gabriel, who is also Germany's economy minister, said: "We must now review whether in future we should take a more critical stance on defensive armaments which we have so far sold to Saudi Arabia for its national defence."

"It turns out we were right not to deliver battle tanks or G36 assault rifles to Saudi Arabia," he added, national news agency DPA reported.

Germany has refrained from selling the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle and other offensive military weapons to Saudi Arabia but has shipped millions of euros worth of so-called defensive military gear.

Exports last year included patrol boats, all-terrain vehicles, aerial refuelling equipment, drones and parts for combat aircraft and armoured vehicles, said national news agency DPA.

A spokesman for the economy ministry earlier said it was "following developments" in Saudi Arabia, and that they would "come into play" when it decides on approval for future defence exports to the country.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert called on both Saudi Arabia and Iran "to use all means at their disposal to improve their diplomatic relations".

He said Saudi-Iranian ties are "of fundamental importance for resolving the crises in Syria and Yemen and for the stability of the entire region".

Germany's opposition Greens and Left parties demanded the government halt all military exports to Saudi Arabia, which reached €209 million in 2014, the last full year for which data is available.

Seibert, asked whether Germany planned to sanction Saudi Arabia, stressed that "it is in the interest of Germany to have dialogue with Saudi Arabia… We are committed to a constructive relationship with Riyadh."

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius meanwhile called for a "de-escalation of tensions" between Riyadh and Tehran, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said.

Story continues below…

"France has an important role in this region as an interlocutor with all the parties," Le Foll said following a cabinet meeting, noting that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani plans to visit Paris in the coming weeks.

Relations between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and Shiite-dominated Iran have been strained for decades.

The oil-rich foes have also been divided over the nearly five-year war in Syria, where Iran is backing the regime, and the conflict in Yemen where a Saudi-led coalition is battling Shiite rebels.

 

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Today's headlines
Gay German MP 'violently arrested' at Istanbul demo
Volker Beck and Terry Reintken in Istanbul. Photo: DPA

One of the most prominent members of Germany's Green party has been arrested in Turkey after attending a banned demo at the end of Gay Pride Week.

Man Utd target blasts Germany to win over Slovakia
Julian Draxler (l) celebrates with Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller. Photo: DPA

Germany coach Joachim Löw appears to have found the right formula to get his attack firing at Euro 2016 after Julian Draxler's outstanding contribution in Sunday's 3-0 win over Slovakia.

Germany says 'won't let anyone take Europe from us'
Steinmeier called the European Union “a successful project of peace and stability”. Photo: DPA

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU would weather the shock of the British vote to leave the union as he convened crisis talks.

Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
7,874
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd