Germany adopted the ban following the devastating consequences of Saudi-led war in Yemen and the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has urged Germany to revoke its ban on arms export to Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi foreign minister told a German news agency that the current export ban went against "the good relations" between the countries. But he also warned that Saudi Arabia is far from dependent on German arms.
Referring to the attacks on Saudi oil facilities last year which Riyadh blamed on Iran, the foreign minister told DPA news agency: “We hope Germany understands that we need the means to defend ourselves.”
Even though the ban does not have a major impact on the Saudi military’s capacity, the arms export ban contradicts with the “framework of good relations that we [Saudi Arabia] have with Germany” Farhan said.
The timing of his call for the removal of the ban is important as the German government will decide whether to extend the ban once more before the end date of March 2020.
Berlin imposed the ban in March 2019 and expanded it twice for six months, making it effective until March 2020.
The ban was initially adopted following the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and the devastating Saudi military campaign in Yemen.
In 2016, the most recent figures available showed German weapons exports to Saudi Arabia generating 530 million euros.
Despite pressure from Britain and France, Germany’s ruling coalition government has refused the continuation of arms exports to not only Saudi Arabia but also other countries that are part of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen.
Backed by the US, Britain, France, the UAE and Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s de-facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has waged war on Iran-backed Houthi rebels who overthrew the Yemeni government since 2015.
Constant, heavy and indiscriminate bombing by the Saudi-led coalition, has devastated Yemeni cities and infrastructure, including homes, markets, hospital, schools and mosques and has caused a major humanitarian crisis in the country, one of the poorest in the world.
According to 2019 UN numbers, the conflict has left tens of thousands dead or injured including at least 17,700 civilians.
A resumption of weapon supplies to Saudi Arabia would mark a major PR victory for Saudi Arabia, which has been suffering from pariah status since the killing of Khashoggi.