Germany announced plans to stop exporting arms to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Agence France-Presse reports.
Speaking to reporters in Berlin on Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the arms freeze and said she will continue working with international allies to coordinate their response to Khashoggi’s murder inside a Saudi consulate.
“I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports [to Saudi Arabia] that they cannot take place in the current situation,” Merkel said, according to AFP.
Germany last month approved 416 million euros ($479 million) worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia for 2018. Berlin’s previous military exports to the kingdom primarily consisted of patrol boats, AFP reports.
After repeating her earlier condemnation of Khashoggi’s killing, Merkel said there is “an urgent need to clear up” what happened to the prominent commentator on Saudi affairs.
Khashoggi went missing after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to retrieve marriage documents. After weeks of denying knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, Riyadh admitted that he had been killed in the consulate. But the Saudi’s claim that the 59-year-old Washington Post columnist died in a fistfight contradicted Turkey’s accounts that he was tortured, killed and dismembered by members of the crown prince’s entourage.
“We are far from seeing everything on the table and the perpetrators being brought to justice,” Merkel said.
While Khashoggi was a U.S. resident, President Donald Trump has implied that the White House has little obligation to investigate the incident, emphasizing that the journalist was not a U.S. citizen. Trump has also insisted that killing not interfere with U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing a $110 billion deal with Riyadh he announced last year.