Germany to train Saudi soldiers despite Yemen war concerns | News | DW | 29.04.2019

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Germany to train Saudi soldiers despite Yemen war concerns

Seven Saudi soldiers are to receive officer's training from the German military starting in July. But some lawmakers have accused the German government of turning a blind eye to Saudi's brutal campaign in Yemen.

Germany will continue to train soldiers from Saudi Arabia despite its brutal military campaign in Yemen, reported German news agency dpa on Monday.

Five Saudi soldiers are expected to start an officer's training course in July with the German army, while two others are to receive similar preparation with the air force. Seven more Saudi soldiers will begin German language training in July in anticipation of starting officer's training in 2020.

The training was part of an agreement made in 2016 during an official visit by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

Last year, Germany imposed a temporary halt on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the assassination of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi diplomatic building. However, it has lifted restrictions on certain components following French and British pressure.

Read more: German government split on Saudi arms ban


Berlin also cited the four-year-old Yemen war when suspending arms exports to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The conflict triggered what the UN has described as currently "the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world."

Christian Blex, an opposition state lawmaker for the far-right Alternative for Germany, criticized the military cooperation in a tweet, saying: "[Angela] Merkel, [Heiko] Maas, von der Leyen — anyone with their hand in the game is a disgrace," referring to the German chancellor, foreign minister and defense minister, respectively.

While Germany approved markedly fewer arms exports in 2018, exports to Saudi Arabia and Turkey surged, in part due to deals that had been inked years earlier.

Read more: In Yemen war, coalition forces rely on German arms and technology

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