Germany quintuples arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt

The German government approved nearly €450 million ($526 million) worth of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the third quarter of 2017, more than five times the €86 million it sold in the same quarter of last year. 

The German Economy Ministry disclosed the numbers after an MP from opposition Left party, Stefan Liebich, requested the information.

Egypt alone bought nearly €300 million worth of weapons, making it the number one export destination for German arms, while Saudi Arabia handed over nearly €150 million. By comparison, the two countries imported €45 million and €41 million respectively in the third quarter of 2016.

The ministry’s disclosure did not give details on the types of weapons exported, but a large proportion of the sales to Saudi Arabia are likely to be taken up by the sale of four patrol boats and 110 military trucks, since these sales were disclosed by the government in July.

Read more: Should Germany stop exporting arms to Saudi Arabia?

Infographic - Weapons exports in English

Germany is one of the major global arms exporters

Feeding the war in Yemen

Speaking to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Liebich criticized the government’s exports to both countries as “particularly reprehensible.”

Saudi Arabia and Egypt have “to answer for the thousands of deaths from their dirty war in Yemen,” he said, referring to the ongoing civil war between Houthi rebels and the Yemen’s government.

Cairo and Riyadh have been supporting the government against the rebels. In 2015, Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention that has reportedly killed over 8,500 people.

Liebich warned the four parties negotiating a new coalition government — the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), its Bavarian sister-party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens — to chart a new course in Germany’s arms export policy. Otherwise, he said, the new government would make itself complicit.

In its answer to Liebich, the Economy Ministry warned that the “sum of the approval values in a reporting period alone are no adequate measure for a specific arms export policy. What needs to be taken into account much more are the kinds of goods and their respective purpose.”

Read more: UN’s Arms Trade Treaty ‘too weak to make a difference’

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