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Germany OKs Saudi military export despite Yemen war ban

September 20, 2018

The sale of arms to parties in the Yemen conflict is against the German government's coalition agreement. But Berlin has now approved a delivery of equipment to Riyadh and the UAE, despite allegations of war crimes.

Girls attend a class at their school, which was damaged by a recent Saudi-led airstrike
Image: Reuters/A. Zeyad

Germany has approved the delivery of military equipment to Saudi Arabia despite a commitment not to export arms to countries fighting in the war in Yemen.

Economy Minister Peter Altmaier greenlighted the shipment of four artillery positioning systems for armored vehicles, according to a letter he provided to a parliamentary committee. The mounted radars can locate the origin of enemy fire and enable precise counterstrikes.

Read more: Germany: Small arms exports down, light weapons up

Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the Social Democrats agreed in their coalition deal early this year not to sell weapons to any side fighting in Yemen's civil war. The agreement excluded already approved exports, so long as they stay in the recipient country.

The Federal Security Council, which includes several ministers alongside Merkel, also authorized the export of 48 warheads and 91 homing heads for ship-based air defense systems to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Read moreYemen conflict: 5 million children face famine

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE intervened in Yemen in 2015 to support the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who was ousted by Houthi rebels. The military coalition also imposes a naval blockade.

More than 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has unleashed a massive humanitarian crisis and threatened millions of people with starvation.

Saudi and Emirati forces have been accused of human rights abuses and possible war crimes.

cw/cmk (KNA, Reuters)

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