Egypt Watch

Germany underway to establish a restrictive policy on arms exports

During a joint press conference in Cairo with her Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that she was keen to address the human rights situation in Egypt during a session of talks with Shoukry. She explained that she spoke about the matter openly, as well as about individual cases that her country pays great attention to.

Baerbock indicated that she, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as a representative of the German government, is convinced that security and stability will not be sustainable unless people are given opportunities to participate peacefully in politics and society, even if this process requires daring and costs a lot. She also stressed the importance of Egypt making efforts to promote political and civil liberties, as it did with religious liberties. Baerbock said that her country is about to set a restrictive policy on German arms exports, and that human rights will play an important role in it. A law is currently being enacted she added.

In January, the German Economy Ministry issued a report saying that Egypt ranked first in the countries importing arms from Germany last year. The report said that the total value of German arms exports last year amounted to 9.35 billion euros, an unprecedented value. An increase of 61 per cent compared to 2020, it also exceeds the previous record of 8 billion euros in 2019.

Egypt imported German weapons worth about 4.3 billion euros, ranking first in the list of German arms importers, far ahead of the United States, which came second with a total of 1.01 billion euros, according to the report. In the last days of the former German government led by Angela Merkel, the Egyptian government signed arms import contracts for nearly half of Germany’s arms exports.

German politician Omid Nouripour, who is considered a promising candidate for the presidency of the Green Party at the end of this month, has called for stopping the export of German weapons to Egypt and Saudi Arabia. “There should be no German arms exports to Egypt and Saudi Arabia due to the problematic policies of both countries,” Nouripour told dpa, referring to the two countries’ participation in the Yemen war.

The German politician indicated that there are more than 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt, adding that in the Libyan conflict, Egypt has repeatedly violated the agreements of the international community. Nouripour confirmed that there has been an arms export embargo against Saudi Arabia in effect since November 2018, and the main reason is the country’s participation in the Yemen war.