Merkel backs more German arms sales to Africa to counter terrorism

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Chancellor Angela Merkel came out in favour of increased sales of German armaments to African countries in order to combat terrorism on the continent, in remarks to the German parliament on Wednesday.

German efforts should not be restricted to training the national security forces, Merkel said during the annual debate on the budget.

“If we want to boost security and peace in Africa, then I believe we cannot deny ourselves the equipment,” she said, expressing “unease” at demands for Germany to restrict arms exports.

“After all, we cannot train people in a serious and credible way to go into combat against terrorist, and then say, you will have to sort out where you get your equipment yourselves,” Merkel said.

The German army has been involved in training the national forces in Mali since 2013 after large parts of the West African country fell under the control of Islamist militants that are still active.

Merkel said the Bundeswehr had to engage in even more training efforts, and had as a result to equip the forces it was training in order to ensure that African countries were not dependent for their military hardware on China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), the junior partner in the ruling grand coalition, back a restrictive arms export policy. A recent SPD paper called for exports outside the European Union and NATO to be cut back.

France and Britain have also this year criticised Germany for restricting exports of arms containing German components to Arab countries involved in the war in Yemen. 

Source: dpa

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