September 17, 2019 / 12:04 PM / a month ago

Merkel suggests she wants to uphold halt in arms exports to Saudi

FILE PHOTO: Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly German cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, August 28, 2019. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday suggested she wanted to stick to Germany’s halt in arms exports to Saudi, saying she did not see any reason to change the government’s stance and Berlin had tied its position to the development of the war in Yemen.

“At the moment I don’t see any prerequisites for the government to change its position,” Merkel told a news conference.

In Yemen a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for over four years in a conflict widely seen as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim rival Iran. Merkel said events in Yemen showed work on a political solution was urgently needed.

A German government source said on Monday that Merkel’s government would extend a halt on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, pointing to the war in neighbouring Yemen and the Social Democrats’ refusal to drop opposition to lifting the moratorium.

Reporting by Michelle Martin and Andreas Rinke; Editing by Madeline Chambers

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