The German government approved nearly €450 million ($526 million) worth of weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and Egypt in the third quarter of 2017, more than five times the €86 million it sold in the same quarter of last year.
The German Economy Ministry disclosed the numbers after a member of parliament from the opposition Left party, Stefan Liebich, requested the information, DW reported.
Egypt alone bought nearly €300 million worth of weapons, making it the number one export destination for German arms, while Saudi Arabia handed over nearly €150 million. By comparison, the two countries imported €45 million and €41 million respectively in the third quarter of 2016.
The Ministry’s disclosure did not give details on the types of weapons exported, but a large proportion of the sales to Saudi Arabia likely consists of four patrol boats and 110 military trucks. These sales were disclosed by the government in July, though neither the total value of the sales nor the individual value of each item were revealed at the time. It also remains unclear what Egypt bought, and Liebich has already filed a follow-up information request with the government.
Liebich criticized the government’s exports to both countries as “particularly reprehensible.”
In its answer to the Left party request, the Economy Ministry cautioned that the “sum of the approval values in a reporting period alone are no adequate measure for a specific arms export policy. What needs to be taken into account much more are the kinds of goods and their respective purpose.”
“The government pursues a restrictive and responsible arms export policy. The government decides on issuing approvals for arms exports on a case-by-case basis and in light of the situation after carefully assessing or drawing on foreign and security policy considerations,” the Ministry added.