Germany nixes Saudi arms sales in wake of Jamal Khashoggi killing

November 19, 2018

Germany has announced it has halted previously approved arms sales to Saudi Arabia as international condemnation over the gruesome killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi continued mounting on Monday.

German immigration officials also banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because they are believed to be connected to the killing of journalist and frequent critic of the Saudi government who lived in self-imposed exile in Virginia.

Separately in a highly anticipated speech in the Saudi capital Riyadh, King Salman bin Abdulaziz the father of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who is suspected of ordering the murder addressed the kingdom’s Shura Council but refrained from mentioning Mr. Khashoggi.

During the televised address, the king noted Saudi’s judiciary and public prosecution had “carried out their duty in the service of justice” but did not specifically mention the case.

Last week, Saudi prosecutors announced they would pursue the death penalty for five suspects connected to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, who was killed after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain a marriage document. The death has caused widespread outrage and his body has not been found.

Commenting on the king’s speech, Marwan Kaballan, director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera that the indirect mention of the case appeared to be a way for the king to show the world “that he is standing by his son [the crown prince].”

Last week, media in the U.S. reported that the CIA believes the crown prince ordered the murder.

Turkey, which has given audiotapes it claims capture the moment of Mr. Khashoggi’s death to Saudi Arabia and other leading western allies, also insists the order to kill came from the highest levels.

In Europe on Monday, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Brussels that there are still “more questions than answers” and that Germany issued the ban of the 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s 26-country border-free Schengen zone in close coordination with France, which is part of the Schengen area, and Britain, which is not.

“As before, there are more questions than answers in this case, with the crime itself and who is behind it,” Mr. Maas said.

Germany also said a month ago it wouldn’t approve any new weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, but left open what would happen with already approved contracts.

Germany’s economy ministry oversees the authorization of arms exports, and on Monday ministry spokesman Philipp Jornitz said that “the German government is working with those who have valid authorizations with the result that there are currently no (weapons) exports from Germany to Saudi Arabia.”

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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