Germany suspends arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Berlin: Germany will not sell arms to Saudi Arabia while the case of the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi remains unclear, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Sunday.

Merkel made the remarks at a press conference after a campaign for her party in a regional election, repeating her condemnation of Khashoggi’s killing, which took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Firstly, we condemn this act in the strongest terms. Secondly, there is an urgent need to further clarify what happened by the Saudi authorities. We are far from this having been cleared up and those responsible should be held to account,” said Merkel.

“As far as arms exports are concerned, those can’t take place in the current circumstances,” the Chancellor added.

Saudi Arabia is the second largest customer in the German defence industry just after Algeria so far this year. Until September, the German federal government granted export licenses worth 416.4 million euros to Saudi Arabia.

Merkel and German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Saturday issued a statement, condemning the murder of Khashoggi, calling for transparency from Saudi Arabia in light of the circumstances of the death and the background.