Press TV – Feb 27, 2013
The German minister’s remarks come at a time when his country has been strongly criticized for the dramatic increase in arms sales to Arab states like Saudi Arabia, despite their poor human rights record.
De Maiziere added that defending Israel against Iran is more important than the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
According to a report published by the Munich-based Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper on February 22, Germany’s weapons exports to the Arab states in the Persian Gulf reached 1.42 billion euros (USD1.88 billion) in 2012.
The report added that Saudi Arabia was the biggest buyer among the Persian Gulf states including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
The figures indicate that Germany’s arms exports to the Persian Gulf littoral states have increased more than nine times.
The Chairman of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Germany’s parliament Volker Kauder had earlier defended his country’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
He told the German weekly newspaper Welt am Sonntag that although freedom of religion does not exist in Saudi Arabia and there are anti-Semitic tendencies in the country, the Arab state has a major role in the region and is a counterweight against Iran.
In addition, German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the green light in principle for a multi-million-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia in December 2012.
The European country is the world’s third largest exporter of weapons after the US and Russia.
According to a report published by the London-based Amnesty International, German weaponry including small firearms, ammunition and military vehicles have been massively deployed to the Middle East and North Africa to suppress peaceful protests.