The German government plans to extend a ban on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia for an additional two weeks, dpa has confirmed.
The temporary extension, first reported Friday by German magazine Spiegel, was agreed to in principle by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. No official announcement has been made. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said that discussions were ongoing.
The export embargo for all arms projects and deals with Saudi Arabia – including those already authorized – was implemented in November following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. It had been set to expire on March 9.
Germany’s tough stance has been a sensitive topic at the European level and sharply criticized by France and Britain, as it also put a stop to European arms deals that include German parts.
The ban is also sensitive within Germany’s coalition government. Merkel has been open to discussions with European partners about easing the rules. Her centre-left coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party, has been opposed to resuming exports.