Berlin set to sell weapons to Doha amid tension with Riyadh
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Berlin set to sell weapons to Doha amid tension with Riyadh

Germany's Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told lawmakers in a letter dated January 23rd that the German government approved selling to Qatar four RAM naval missile systems. Chancellor Angela Merkel said in October that Berlin would stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the murder of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul earlier that month. Merkel called Khashoggi’s murder an “atrocity” that “had to be clarified,” calling on fellow European governments to follow suit and suspend arms exports to the kingdom. The decision was met with strong criticism from a major German arms manufacture which threatened to take legal action against the decision. Rheinmetall AG- one of Germany’s largest military contractors - believes the halt in arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which has wages a war on Yemen since 2015, has already affected approved exports worth up to 2 billion euros ($2.3 billion). Jointly developed by Germany and the United States, RAM is a ship-based rolling airframe missile that protects naval vessels against missiles, aircraft, helicopters and other ships. The sale also includes 85 dual-mode radar and infrared seekers that guide the missile into its target. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt all cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar in 2017, accusing it of “sponsoring terrorism”, a charge Doha strongly denies. They then released a 13-point list of demands, including the closure of Al Jazeera television network and downgrade of relations with Iran in return for the normalization of diplomatic relations. Qatar rejected the demands as an attack on the country’s sovereignty and interference in its domestic affairs and foreign policy agenda. Germany last year announced it plans to enhance ties with Qatar, which pledged to invest 10 billion euros in the German economy.

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