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Germany Halts Weapons Exports to Parties Involved in Yemen Conflict

Germany Halts Weapons Exports to Parties Involved in Yemen ConflictGermany Halts Weapons Exports to Parties Involved in Yemen Conflict

The German government said on Friday that it would “immediately” stop approving arms exports to anyone participating in the war in Yemen. The move would include Saudi Arabia, a major buyer of German weapons.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman wrote on Twitter that Germany “isn’t taking any arms export decisions right now that aren’t in line with the results of the preliminary talks,” referring to coalition talks between Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), DW reported.

Arms exports to nations with poor human rights records like Saudi Arabia have been heavily criticized by opposition politicians in Berlin.

After a request from Left party lawmaker Stefan Liebich in the fall, Merkel’s government was forced to admit that it had nearly quintupled arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt from 2016 to 2017.

Liebich said that Saudia Arabia and Egypt had to “to answer for the thousands of deaths from their dirty war in Yemen,” and called Berlin’s decision to sell weapons to those countries “reprehensible.”

Yemen’s ongoing civil conflict has pitted the country’s Riyadh-backed government against Houthi fighters. Since the outbreak of violence in 2015, 13,000 people have been killed—more than half of them civilians.

Amnesty International rights group, praised Germany’s decision and called on other countries to do the same.

“Good news! Germany halts arms exports to parties to the conflict in #Yemen. [The] US, UK, France and all other states selling arms to the #Saudi-led coalition must halt arms sales now!,” the organization said Friday in a post on Twitter.

The UK has licensed more than 4.6 billion pounds ($6.3 billion) worth of arms to Saudi Arabia since the war in Yemen began, according to the UK-based Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

A recent UN report on human rights abuses related to foreign intervention in Yemen documented a number of civilian casualties inflicted by US-backed Saudi-led coalition bombing.

According to the Geneva-based SAM Organization for Rights and Liberties, some 450 civilians were killed in Yemen during December 2017.

The killings were part of 1,937 violations committed throughout the country during December, including physical assaults, violation to press freedom, torture and arbitrary detention, a January 17 report by the organization said.

 

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