Germany rescinds approval for Saudi Arabia arms deal over Khashoggi killing

Germany has halted previously approved arms exports to Saudi Arabia amid the controversy surrounding the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The German government last month said it would not authorize any new weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, but did not reveal what would happen with the already approved contracts.

On Monday, Germany’s economy ministry – which oversees the authorization of arms exports – said “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.”

The country’s foreign minister also announced that Berlin had banned 18 Saudi nationals from entering Europe’s border-free Schengen zone because they are believed connected to Khashoggi’s killing. Heiko Maas said there are still “more questions than answers.”

Khashoggi was last seen on October 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and efforts to get his whereabouts elicited conflicting accounts of information from Saudi Arabian officials, sparking a worldwide outcry.

Saudi officials had initially said the journalist left the consulate unharmed, but later – under intense pressure to explain Khashoggi’s whereabouts, admitted that he was dead. They said he died from a fist-fight.

His body has however not been found yet.

The US and Turkey have also piled pressure on Saudi Arabia to give an explanation to Khashoggi’s killing, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying publicly that the journalist “was a victim of a brutal killing.”