Germany set to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Turkey amid fear of human rights abuses

All previously agreed weapons deals would be retroactively cancelled if legislation passed

Germany is set to ban arms sales to Saudi ArabiaTurkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid fears they are being used to carry out human rights abuses.

Weapons exports to the three countries will be prevented if new legislation is approved.

The draft bill, proposed by the opposition social democratic party Die Linke, will also make it illegal to sell arms, expertise and related goods to any other government suspected of using the equipment to abuse human rights.

The bill mentions Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their role in the war in Yemen, and Turkey for its military bombardment of Kurdish forces fighting in in northern Syria.

It specifically refers to previous sales of patrol boats to Saudi Arabia – which have been used to blockade Yemeni ports – and of Leopard tanks to Turkey, which formed part of the country’s military action against the Kurdish YPG groups.

If approved, the law would not only prevent future transactions from being made with these countries, but also retroactively recall previously agreed deals.

But if waved through, the ban will not come cheap to Germany’s economy: between 2013 and 2017, Saudi Arabia spent £870m on arms deals with the country.

In January, the German government announced it would halt all arms exports to countries involved in the ongoing war in Yemen, but this bill would tighten and expand on that legislation.

It comes after the UK government expressed sympathy with the victims of a Saudi bombing raid on a wedding in Yemen, but said it would not halt arm sales to to Riyadh.


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