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Germany to ban 18 Saudi citizens from Europe

Alexander Pearson
November 19, 2018

Germany is banning 18 Saudi citizens suspected of being involved in Jamal Khashoggi's death from entering Europe's Schengen zone. The government says it is also halting previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa/AP/E. Gurel

Germany has triggered proceedings to ban 18 Saudi citizens allegedly involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi from entering Europe's border-free Schengen zone, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Monday.

"We still have more questions than answers in the Khashoggi case," Maas said on the sidelines of a European Union meeting in Brussels, adding that he had discussed the decision with Britain and France prior to his announcement.

The Schengen Area comprises 26 European countries. It includes most EU countries and non-EU members Norway and Switzerland.

A German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told the Reuters news agency that Germany's privacy laws precluded her from naming the individuals.

Arms sales on ice

In another move in response to the killing, the German Economy Ministry said on Monday that it had halted all arms sales to the kingdom, even those previously approved.

A month ago, Germany said it would not give the green light to any new weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, but did not say what would happen with contracts that had already received approval.

The decision to halt exports is likely to affect the delivery of 20 patrol boats that are already under construction in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Other EU member states, and notably France, have so far declined to halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Read more: Saudi Arabia is Germany's second-best weapons customer

Saudi dithering

Khashoggi was killed while visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. His body was dismembered and removed.

Germany and the European Union have repeatedly called on Saudi authorities to clarify the circumstances of Khashoggi's death. Riyadh initially denied that he had been killed. But amid growing international pressure, it accused 11 rogue agents of carrying out the killing without its consent.

Doubts remain however about the complicity of Saudi leaders. On Saturday, US media reported that the US Central Intelligence Agency believed with "high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly ordered the killing.

Germany announced it would stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia in late October until the full facts of Khashoggi's death were "on the table."

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