German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has called for a European ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia
German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier has called for a European ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Altmaier said on Monday Berlin “at this stage will not approve further arms exports because we want to know what happened,” adding that all explanations so far have been unsatisfactory.
He echoed earlier remarks by Chancellor Angela Merkel who vowed to suspend arms exports to Riyadh until uncertainty over the fate of Khashoggi vanishes.
“When it comes to our already limited arms exports … they cannot take place in the current situation,” she said at a news conference on Sunday.
But Altmaier, a close Merkel confidant, emphasized that “there won’t be any positive effects if only we halt exports and then other countries fill the gap.”
“Only when all European nations are in agreement will this make an impression on Riyadh,” he said, speaking on public broadcaster ARD.
Swedish Greens deputy Linnéa Engström calls for EU arms embargo against Saudi Arabia
MEPs have added their voices to the growing condemnation of Saudi Arabia over the case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, allegedly murdered in the Gulf regime’s consulate in Turkey.
US President Donald Trump has warned of severe action if a link can be established between the disappearance of the dissident journalist and the Saudis.
Trump has called for a “few more days” for the three investigations that are taking place to conclude while several countries, including the UK, have pulled out of an upcoming Saudi investment conference.
With mystery still surrounding the exact fate of the US resident, MEPs have now voiced concern about future EU-Saudi relations, including lucrative arms sales to the gulf kingdom.
Leading the way is the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee chair David McAllister who said, “Free media and the protection of journalists are fundamental principles of the European Union.”
The German EPP deputy added, “The disappearance and alleged murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi must be thoroughly investigated.”
Swedish Greens MEP Linnéa Engström went even further calling for an arms embargo against Riyadh.
She said, “This case bluntly shows what kind of regime we’re talking about. Being dependant on fossil fuels such as oil from these corrupt regimes which constantly violate human rights is a huge mistake. We need to stop dealing with regimes like this.”
Merkel announces Saudi arms ban
“I agree with all those who say that the, albeit already limited, arms exports can’t take place in the situation we’re currently in,” German chancellor Angela Merkel told press in Berlin on Sunday (21 October).
“We condemn this act in the strongest terms … there is an urgent need to clarify what happened,” she said, referring to the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who wrote for US newspaper The Washington Post.
Merkel’s decision came after Saudi Arabia admitted to killing Khashoggi in what it called a “rogue operation”.
It did it in its consulate in Istanbul in what the EU foreign service called “a shocking violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations”, a treaty that governs international diplomacy. The EU currently has arms bans on China, Russia, Iran, Syria, and Yemen.
Calls grow louder for European arms embargo against Saudi Arabia
An arms embargo is supported in a new resolution by the European Parliament, the latest attempt in a string of actions compelling EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to act against the Middle-Eastern country. This also includes a letter signed by European lawmakers from several countries.
One senior Member of the European Parliament, Linnea Engstrom, is among those now demanding demanding an embargo, declaring, “It is time to stop doing business with this regime.”
“The Khashoggi case bluntly shows what kind of regime we’re talking about. Doing business with these corrupt regimes which constantly violates human rights is a huge mistake,” she said.
“All new (arms) sales should not be allowed to Saudi Arabia at the moment,” said Bodil Valero, another MEP from Sweden who sits on the Parliament’s subcommittee on security and defence.
– Politicoscope / Press TV / PM / EUO