Criticism of the government – Germany remains the fourth largest arms exporter

Criticism of the government - Germany remains the fourth largest arms exporter

17 percent increase despite export freeze for Saudi Arabia – Greens call for better control of exports.

© Photo: Stefan Sauer / dpa
Wolgast: Patrol boats, which are actually intended for Saudi Arabia, on the shipyard of the Peene shipyard.

After the publication of new figures by the Stockholm Peace Research Institute Sipri, criticism increases on the German role in the global arms market.

Both parts of the opposition in the Bundestag and the peace and environmental protection organization Greenpeace criticized on Monday that, according to the peace researchers, Germany continues to be the fourth largest arms exporter in the world. “The Sipri figures refute the myth of the supposedly reserved German arms export policy again this year,” said Greenpeace disarmament expert Alexander Lurz.

Sipri published a new report on the international import and export of armaments on Monday. According to this, the USA remains by far the largest arms exporter on earth with a share of 36 percent of total exports of large arms in the years 2015 to 2019.

Sipri records for Germany an increase of 17 percent compared to the period 2010 to 2014. With a share of 5.8 percent of total global exports, the Federal Republic is still in fourth place in the ranking – despite the export ban on Saudi Arabia imposed in 2018, the top buyer among arms importers. The largest buyers of German armaments were, according to the report, South Korea, Greece and Algeria.

Greenpeace expert Lurz complained that Germany, along with the four UN Security Council members and nuclear weapons powers, the USA, Russia, France and China, is still one of the five largest arms suppliers. “A weak set of rules and a government that also wants to export are responsible for this,” said Lurz. The federal government must finally pass a law that prohibits arms exports to third countries. By this, Greenpeace means countries that are not members of the European Union.

Left: Restrictive arms policy only “hollow talk”

The disarmament spokeswoman for the Greens in the Bundestag, Katja Keul, viewed the Sipri figures as further evidence that the Federal Government, despite claims to the contrary, does not pursue a cautious arms export policy. She also called for a binding law to control arms exports.

The left again spoke out in favor of a total ban on German arms deliveries. In view of the Sipri figures, the self-declared restrictive arms policy of the federal government is only “hollow talk and deliberate deception of the public”, said the left-wing spokeswoman for disarmament, Sevim Dagdelen. With its position on the armaments market, Germany is “leading jointly responsible for creating causes of flight”.

Saudi Arabia expects export ban to be lifted

In March 2018, the SPD and the Union agreed to an arms export stop in the coalition agreement the countries directly involved in the Yemen war – to which Saudi Arabia belongs – informed. Initially, however, several back doors were left open in the agreement. A complete export freeze against Saudi Arabia was imposed only six months later after the murder of government-critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi and has since been extended twice – most recently until March 31, 2020. A decision on a further extension has yet to be made.

The SPD, the candidate for the CDU chairmanship Norbert ROttgen as well as left and Greens are for an extension of the measure. Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, expects a lifting.

Sipri’s reports are about long-term international trends, which is why the institute compares five-year periods instead of individual years. The peace researchers’ values ​​are based on the volume, not the financial value of arms deals. Small arms are not included. (dpa)

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