13:04 GMT +3 hours31 May 2016
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A picture taken 30 October 2000 shows an UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter flying near the Prince Sultan Air Base, Saudi Arabia.

Germany Approves Sale of Military Helicopters to Saudi Arabia

© AFP 2016/ SSGT Sean M. Worrell / USAF / DOD
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As Saudi Arabia continues its brutal military campaign in Yemen, the German government has approved several arms export deals to Riyadh.

Last month, the European Parliament voted in favor of an EU-wide arms embargo against Saudi Arabia, citing the kingdom’s violent military campaign in Yemen. According to UN estimates, over 3,000 civilians have been killed since the Saudi-led bombing campaign began last March.

Despite this agreement aimed at stemming the violence, the German government has approved arms export deals to several countries in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia.

A letter sent from German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel to German lawmakers confirms that Berlin has authorized the delivery of 23 Airbus helicopters to Riyadh.

The deal also applies to Saudi Arabia’s allies in the Gulf. The United Arab Emirates will receive 130 machine pistols and automatic rifles from German company Heckler and Koch. The defense giant will also provide 660 machine guns, 660 gun barrels, and 550 sub-machine guns to Oman.

Defense contractor Rheinmetall will deliver 65,000 mortar cartridges to the UAE.

The approval comes one month after Gabriel indicated that Germany’s Federal Security Council would take a more reserved approach to licensing arms exports. That announcement led to a fierce outcry from the German defense industry.

The arms approvals extend beyond the Middle East. Five military helicopters will be delivered to Thailand, while Heckler and Koch will ship 490 pistols and automatic rifles to Indonesia.

Riyadh’s military actions in Yemen have led to widespread condemnation. Earlier this month, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) released its latest death toll estimates.

"During February, a total of at least 168 civilians were killed and 193 injured, around two-thirds of them by Coalition airstrikes," OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville said.

"In the country as a whole, 117 civilians were killed and another 129 wounded as a result of airstrikes, with the largest number of casualties (99) attributed to airstrikes hitting the capital, Sanaa."

The UN also reported “worrying allegations” that cluster bombs have been used on a mountainous area to the south of the Amran cement factory.

Banned throughout most of the world, these cluster munitions are supplied by the United States.

Related:
Saudi Airstrikes to Blame for Two-Thirds of Civilian Deaths in Yemen - UN
Dutch Ahead of the Curve on Saudi Arms Exports After EU Votes for Ban
European Parliament Adopts Resolution on Arms Embargo Against Saudi Arabia
Tags:
Yemen conflict, Heckler and Koch, Rheinmetall, Airbus, Sigmar Gabriel, Yemen, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Germany
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  • cast235
    Un scrupulous E.U. Tyrants.
  • espenskrdal
    Shame on Germany! How dare you lecture other countries about 'human rights'. F**ing hypocrites!
  • asco
    the do like there Masters (USA) is doing its a shame
  • rmpblue
    The hypocrisy of the article above is that it is in an open 'secret' that Russia has both used and supplied 'terrorists' in Ukraine with cluster bombs.

    Russia, like Saudi Arabia is NOT a party to the (or any) treaty banning the use of cluster munitions and in FACT Russia has used such munitions in much of Syria killing many times more in a shorter time of civilians.

    In short, this is another Putin/Kremlin approved propaganda piece of 'junk'. The fact is Russia makes, sells, and uses cluster bombs in Ukraine and Syria and the effects are many times over what they might be of or from Saudi Arabia.
    That of course does mean that I support or excuse such use. It is murder! What it means is that Russia is a far more massive and guilty murderer than Saudi Arabia even has the capacity for . . .
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