Merkel, Macron clash over arms sales to Saudis

TEHRAN, Oct. 27 (MNA) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have a serious disagreement in stopping arms sales to Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

While Merkel wants to halt all arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the conduction of a thorough investigation of Khashoggi murder, Macron says that such calls are “pure demagoguery,” Deutsche Welle reported.

In a press conference with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis on Friday, Merkel highlighted that Germany would not supply weapons to Saudis until the facts behind the murder case were clear, adding, "the case of journalist Khashoggi is, of course, something incredible, I told the Saudi king yesterday in our telephone conversation … We need to clarify the background of this horrible crime and until then, we will not supply weapons to Saudi Arabia.”

She also called on Riyadh to "do everything to solve the urgent humanitarian situation in Yemen, there are currently millions of hungry people, we are witnesses of one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes."

On the other hand, Macron criticized Merkel’s stance on Friday and described it as “pure demagoguery.”

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with the murder case, he said, adding, "I greatly admire those who, even before they know anything, say 'We won't sell any more weapons!' They sometimes sell more than France thanks to their joint ventures."

Earlier on Thursday the European Parliament has called on EU states to unite in imposing an EU-wide arms embargo on Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who wrote critically of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's rise to power, went missing on October 2 after entering the consulate in Istanbul to obtain documents needed for his upcoming marriage. A Turkish security source told Reuters that a group of 15 Saudi nationals, including some officials, arrived in Istanbul and entered the consulate after the Saudi journalist. Saudi Arabia finally acknowledged the murder last week, saying Khashoggi died in a brawl inside its consulate. Meanwhile, Turkish President Erdogan addressed the Parliament on Oct. 23, saying that there is evidence pointing to Khashoggi's murder being 'premeditated'.

MAH/PR

News Code 139064

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