March 1, 2019 / 11:18 AM / 3 months ago

Germany will decide on Saudi arms freeze in March - spokesman

FILE PHOTO: German Chancellor Angela Merkel and German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz arrive for the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke - RC1E11AC0790/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government on Friday said it would make decisions about its unilateral halt on weapons shipments to Saudi Arabia before the end of March, making it likely the current arms embargo will be extended beyond the current deadline of March 9.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said government leaders were aware of time pressure and were committed to resolving the issue - which is dividing the ruling coalition - this month.

Der Spiegel magazine reported earlier that conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, a member of the Social Democrats, had agreed to extend the freeze in arms deliveries to Riyadh for two weeks beyond March 9. They are under mounting pressure by Britain and France, and companies like Airbus, to reverse course or risk damage to commercial credibility.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Michelle Martin

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