Germany has said it would hold firm on its decision to halt weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, ignoring British requests.

“The stance of the government is that we won’t deliver weapons to Saudi Arabia at the moment,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said after talks with his British counterpart about the decision taken in October over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“In reality, because the UK has a strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia, we’d been able to play a very important part in making the Stockholm talks happen.

And we don’t believe that changing our commercial relationship with Saudi Arabia will help that, in fact we worry that it would do the opposite — it would reduce our influence on that process.”

Citing the letter, local outlet Spiegel reported that the UK wants Germany to exempt major European defence projects like Eurofighter or Tornados jets from the weapons embargo.

87 COMMENTS

  1. So, why don’t Germany put in place a full embargo? Stopping the exports (to Saudi) of Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Siemens, BASF, Bosch, Adidas, Bayer…

    Then we have Germany’s increased arms sales to Turkey, where the victims are Kurdish forces, who have undoubtedly played a major role in ridding Syria of ISIS.

    Just a few thoughts!

  2. This is the problem when the biggest nation in Europe acts like a small neutral country and consistently forms policy with zero regard for its allies or neighbours. It’s the latest of a Long line of decisions going back to atleast ERM in 1992.

    Thankfully the Tempest program is bypassing the two biggest cluster f*** nations in Europe. Thank god we also signed up for F35.

        • Dave, We Have yet to Leave Europe and nor has Honda left the UK. And If you took the care to read the Official Honda Statement you would see that Brexit was not the reason they have made their decision.
          Don’t let a Democratic Vote or Facts get In the way of your Moaning though.

          • RGR, It makes my blood boil. It’s the Moaners who are causing all the uncertainty and trying as hard as possible to mess It all up whilst jumping on the “Brexit Is to Blame” for anything and everything.

            Honda have given their Official Explanation for their Decision, Not any mention of Brexit whatsoever. Yet still people make these False Claims.

          • Yes sadly our beloved leaders seem to want to procrastinate and obfuscate the whole damn thing. Or in plain language ignore the majority as they were remainers.

            Did we have a vote to join the EU or EEC or whatever it was 40 odd years ago? I’m slightly too young to have been asked my opinion.

          • Yes RGR. We did. I’m too young to recall that too.

            The EEC is a different beast than where the EU is headed.

            We wanted 40 years for another vote and people now need to bloody well wait until brexit has been delivered and seen to be a success or indeed a failure.

            Til then any attempt to remove, obstruct or otherwise change the original mandate is not democracy in anyone’s eyes save die hard remainers.

          • Hmmm, oh dear, the usual ‘one eyed claptrap from the Brain of Britain Brigade’, absolutely no idea. By the way chaps…if I can tear you away from your Chomsky readers….second referendum now looks on the cards. It looks as if comrade Corbyn is going to have to accept one or lose a good portion of his MPs. Anyway, I shall be up in London at the end of next month with a good million of other intelligent people making sure that democracy is really put into action. Lots of love XXX

          • “With a good Million of other intelligent people” . Lol.
            Say Hello from the other 61 million then.

            Oh and, Make sure you don’t get Clamped, It’s getting really difficult to park there nowadays.

            (Quite why any “Intelligent” person would even bother to go to such a Shit Hole, Evades me, I must be really Thick ! )

            The last person to go there with any Meaningful Intent was Guy Feckin Fawkes.

            Just sayin.

          • You know me so well.

            Or so you think. !!!!

            Actually, go on mate, Give me a Laugh and do one of those “Character Appraisals” that oh so many Internet Trolls are so bloody Brilliant at.

            Can’t wait mate.

          • Actually, I am not a fan of that sort of behaviour. Certain contributors have done that to me in past… all of their assertions were, of course, complete rubbish. I try to play the arguments rather than the man…though it sometimes spills over…doesn’t it? What has surprised me is the way that British politics has polarised over the last couple of years. Even more worrying is the blame game attitude…’it’s all the fault of the EU’. This is quite a dangerous situation for our country…the rise of extremist politics and the diminution of the voice of the centre-ground. This is what the break-away group of MP’s have noticed! Hopefully, we are too well informed to descend into the abyss that Weimar Germany did in the 30s. Though, I wouldn’t guarantee it!

        • It IS the EU’s fault that there are no talks on a FT deal underway.

          In breach of Article 50 they won’t talk trade until the WITHDRAWL agreement is signed and sealed.

          Which MP’s keep voting down.

          Then moaning there is no deal and we are headed for a “cliff edge” in other words joining the rest of the world.

          A FT deal after will of course happen as we are their 2nd biggest market I believe.

        • What on earth has your post got to do with the subject at hand
          Just another spurious comment that has no value

          Peter french

      • Why does everybody think this is anti-Brexit? Presumably the Germans are denying their own industrial base opportunity too? If we really want to cut our nose to spite our face then we should also veto any German order of typhoons to replace tornado. Can we do this -I’m not sure but presumably in the same way one third of components come from uk manufacturers. Might force them to reconsider f35

  3. I am sure enterprising German firms will find various ways to circumvent any “weapons” exports to the Saudi’s. Especially when there is other nations content like Eurofighter spare parts involved.

  4. That’s Meteor f—–d then I guess. Ironic that the European cooperation solution was decided upon there specifically Because the US option was deemed too problematic in terms of exporting to ‘sensitive’ nations seriously affecting export sales.

  5. We apparently vetoed the Saab Grippen deal with Argentina a few years back – and with good reason. Did that mean that we pushed for general sanctions? Of course not. Arms sales are special for obvious reasons. So it happens all the time and has nothing to do with Brexit.

  6. The German position on arms sales is seriously hampering the supply of spares for Tornado and Typhoon.
    A large number of LRUs are still sat in the German contractors repair facilities and will not be shipped to BAe who have the contract to assist in the support the Saudi Aircraft.
    Whilst the UK is removing the Tornado from the front line, the RSAF love it. It has the best availability and strike rate of all aircraft in the inventory…far higher than the F15s and it also has managed to hit what it has aiming at …something that has been a huge problem for other aircraft on operations.

  7. Captain and Herodotus, play nicely please. We are all allowed our opinions without tearing each other apart. If f this behaviour carries on you will both go on the naughty step.

    • Oh, OK T.S. , Thanks for your Reply, There was me thinking I was one of the Majority.

      Seems like Democracy Is Dead here too.

      Long Live Democracy.

      Where Is Your Naughty Step BTW ?

      I’m thinking somewhere near Moscow ?

    • Talking of the middle ground I don’t disagree with that notion at all actually.

      This independent middle ground party is indeed needed in the current scheme of things with the established two in my opinion.

      That it’s been formed by Mps defying their electorate and jumping before they are deselelected is another thing. And as they want a peoples vote, even though we have has one already, is hysterical given that they’re not too keen on a by election vote now.

      No surprise as they’d be toast.

      Still, as I said I’m not against the notion at all just the irony in how it’s come about.

      • Never Voted for any Twatish Political Party personally.

        Did Vote for Brexit though.

        Seemed like the only thing worth Voting for In the past 50 Years or so.

        Obviously I’m Right Wing and Wrong now though.

        FFS.

        • Ask me who I’d vote for now ?

          Well Bugger me, Lets think about this for a while.

          Nope, Can’t really see any Intelligent reason to vote for any of this latest batch of Fuckwits, Truth Be Known.

          Can Any of You ?

        • Capn.

          It’s typical lefty drivel. Ignore.

          Any one who disagrees with the liberal left is either racist, right wing, or does not know what they voted for.

          Right wing is now the far right in their eyes.

          Luckily most know different.

          Funnily enough I have both right and left views on various things.

          I certainly will never vote Labour or Tory.

          • Daniele, I have to say that I’ve always voted Conservative, apart from the 2005 election, (when I voted UKIP) as the Tory party of the day was an even worse bet than the Tony Blair personality cult!

            Both parties have utterly messed up BREXIT, but if the Tories don’t deliver on a 31’st March exit, I will never vote for them again.

            MP’s on both sides of the house are playing a dangerous game with democracy, with the general public watching on intently.

            The liberal elements in our society who disagreed with the democratic vote have spent two years steadily trying to destroy BREXIT by various different means.

            It would appear ‘ liberalism’ only works if you happen to agree with their specific outlook.

            I personally feel if they get their way and force a new referendum to try and destroy BREXIT, they will pay a very high price at the next general election and potentially let in some really dangerous elements from the far left and far right!

            You can expect some really unpleasant elements to come out of the woodwork and start parties to fill the power vacuum left behind.

            Labour will pay dearly in its northern heartlands, of that I am sure, as their core voters, feeling betrayed by Labour moves away in droves to newly created parties.

            Civil unrest of some description is highly likely and deeply worrying.

            I

  8. Herodotus mentioned something further back in his posts regarding some of the issues we can blame on the Forth Reich /Republic of Europe / European forced Union that shocked me to the core, he clearly stated that Ant and Dec are an EU construct.

    That’s absolutely horrified me and if there was a reason to leave the EU, anyone with an IQ higher than a earth worm could surly agree to that……..

  9. When are the German people going to vote out Merkel????? You’d think the German people would have had enough of her by now. By letting the German military degrade to such a state that Mexico could defeat it and not to mention allowing the mass migration from the Middle East. Come on guys anyone is better than her.

    • sincerely you are not a german when you post such an ignorant statement here. 🙂
      Merkels humanitarian move to take in refugees is btw anchored in our constitution and was a moral obligation and a political move as hungary threatend to close the european border.

      So, taking in the syrian refugees was a generous gesture, a political move and even a constitutional obligation. The fact that you are not aware of this marks you as a non german.

      Happy brexit btw. 😉

  10. All, I’m a remainer but I’m also very much in favour of the idea that the UK needs an increased defence budget leading to larger, better paid, better equipped armed forces – on that at least I think most on here would agree.

    I used to really like the debates on this blog but if you look at the thread above, the first mention of Brexit happens early: 6 or 7 posts-in and the whole thing then reduces to a slanging match. I can and frequently do voice my views on Brexit in the mainstream media where the levels of interest in defence matters are alas, minimal.

    It’s of course not for me to be telling anyone what they can or can’t say on here but perhaps a plea: Blood boils on both sides of the Brexit debate, we all know that, so wouldn’t we all benefit from trying to keep this place focused on its niche? Places like this are few and far between.

    • OOA-good post. I suppose one could argue that Brexit impinges on every aspect of UK life at present and in particular the position of our German partners in Typhoon also indirectly results from the integration of Europe over the last 40 years. So it is sort of relevant to the niche and to this debate. I have been a fence sitter on the Brexit issue and consider this dreadful mess as almost unsolvable. It is virtually impossible to have a reasonable debate in the Press-particularly in the Telegraph where even a suggestion of opposition to crashing out without a deal is met with insults and charges of treachery.

      • geoff – thanks.

        Agree – it affects so much it’s difficult to avoid discussing it but let’s not fixate. As I mentioned a bit earlier, we apparently prevented Saab from doing business with Argentina a while back. The USA prevents anyone doing business with many countries – even if a very small% of your content is US-sourced, they maintain a say in where it goes. My company has a whole department aimed at making sure we comply and it’s very restrictive.

        So most nations do it and it has nothing to do with the EU, whichever side of the Brexit debate you’re on.

        • Thanks OOA. Good points and we(self included) should avoid blinkered positions. The economy of the world has become very integrated particularly in the Defence industries for obvious reasons-to share costs and reap economies of scale. However there is a cost in the loss of Independence of action-in this case it could have grave consequences for the UK.For example, if Saudis were to take umbrage over the Typhoon issue and look elsewhere for more independent arms suppliers, it would be very painful indeed for UK Plc!

  11. OOA-sounds ominous. Are you referring to the proposal for the RAF to acquire some F35s-A? If so please elaborate-maybe I am being doff(local South African expression meaning thick) or am missing some detail!
    Regards from Durban

      • I know it was a joke but I like the F35 debate; it can be argued without getting personal and causing divide, unlike the Brexit debate.

        My preference is to keep all F35B models. Despite advantages in range and payload of the A model, those would be negates by having to have 2 training squadrons, 2 lots of spare aircraft inventory and spare parts, etc. Not to mention that every single F35B is carrier capable, making them far more flexible. If 138 is all we get, and likely only 80 or 90 in service at any one time, then they should all be B models.

        That said, if Fiscal Phil were to up the defence spend to between 2.5-3% and we were looking at purchasing a few extra squadrons worth of F35s, then by all means any additional aircraft should then be the A model.

        I know we can’t go back in time but I think this whole thing could have been made much easier if they’d originally built caps & traps into the QE design and just gone with the C model: similar range and payload to A but carrier capable. One design that gets the best of both.

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