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Germany extends arms embargo on Saudi Arabia

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The German government said on Wednesday it had extended an additional six-month ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia imposed after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 amid a crisis linked to attacks on two Saudi oil facilities.

A government spokesman confirmed that the arms embargo on Riyadh would be extended until at least late March 2020.

Until then, “no new contract will be approved,” the spokesman said.

The ban was imposed after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

On Tuesday, Merkel called for a further extension of the ban, as “the government has no reason to change its position” at this stage.

The issue of arms exports to Saudi Arabia is a point of contention among the ruling coalition in Germany.

Since 2018, even before Khashoggi’s death, the Social Democrats joining the coalition have been active in pushing for an arms embargo, especially to countries involved in the conflict in Yemen.

Merkel’s government decided to ban arms sales after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

France and Britain, Germany’s partners in several arms projects, have repeatedly criticized Berlin for threatening those joint ventures after its decision to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Germany is one of the world’s leading arms exporters, along with the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has been a party to the war in Yemen, providing support to the recognized government against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who have gained control of large swathes of the country and the capital Sanaa.

The Houthis claimed attacks by drones and missiles on two major Saudi oil facilities on Saturday.

The United States has expressed doubts about the Houthis’ adoption of the attack.

Riyadh confirmed that the weapons used in the attack on its facilities are Iranian, but did not directly accuse Tehran of responsibility for the attack as did US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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