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Germany urges all EU countries to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Germany has stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia and urged other EU countries to do the same.

The call comes after the killing of an exiled journalist critical to the regime at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Jamal Khashoggi, 57, is said to have been beheaded and dismembered by a 15-strong ‘assassination squad’ ordered there from Riyadh, after he went there to pick up paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2011, file photo, Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks on his cellphone at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. In recent months, the Trump administration has repeatedly put off the release of its long-awaited Mideast peace plan. Now, the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents may put the plan into a deep freeze. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo, File)

Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi was critical of the regime (Picture: AP)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said arms exports to Saudi Arabia ‘can’t take place in the situation we’re currently in.’

The country has been accused of widespread human rights abuses during its war against Yemen, including bombing a bus of 40 school children.

Britain is the second biggest exporter of arms to Saudi Arabia, after the United States.

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BAE Systems has a multibillion-pound contract to supply 48 Typhoon fighter jets.

Many groups including international aid charities and Labour have long called for a ban on arms sales to Saudi Arabia because of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

But Dr Mabon, a former adviser to the House of Lords International Relations Select Committee, said there was ‘no appetite for it from the people who are in a position to do it’, because of the impact on British jobs, something that would only change with a change of government.

(FILES) This file photo taken on October 9, 2018 shows protesters holding portraits of missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi with the caption: "Jamal Khashoggi is missing since October 2" during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi went from being a Saudi royal family insider to an outspoken critic of the ultra-conservative kingdom's government. The Saudi journalist -- who was last seen on October 2 entering his country's consulate in Istanbul -- went into self-imposed exile in the United States in 2017 after falling out with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters holding portraits with the caption: ‘Jamal Khashoggi is missing since October 2’ during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul (Picture: Getty)

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said other EU countries should follow Germany and show a united front.

Mr Altmaier, whose ministry is responsible for authorising weapons exports, told ZDF television that ‘we won’t, at this point, approve any further arms exports because we want to know what happened.’

‘For me, it is important to reach a joint European position … because only if all European countries agree will this make an impression on the government in Riyadh.’

He added that ‘it will have no positive consequences if we, as we are doing, currently don’t pursue our arms exports, if at the same time other countries fill this gap.’

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German officials said this position would stand for as long as exactly what happened to Khashoggi was in doubt.

‘When it is cleared up, we will then see what happens next,’ Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

It wasn’t clear if the German government also plans to block arms exports to Saudi Arabia that it previously approved.

Altmaier said the government will now consider that question, and there should be a result ‘very soon.’

As part of an agreement to form a coalition government earlier this year, Merkel and her centre-left partners stated that Germany would not approve further arms exports to countries ‘so long as they are immediately involved in the war in Yemen.’



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