Baerbock blames Saudi Arabia: Greens also avoid disputes over arms exports

On Friday, the Greens softened the abandonment of nuclear power at the turn of the year, this Saturday they dealt with the export of arms to Saudi Arabia: a compromise proposal should receive broad approval – and make weapons more difficult for Riyadh in the future. Foreign Minister Baerbock is tough on Saudi Arabia.

At the party conference in Bonn, the Greens agreed on a common position on arms exports, thus eliminating another potential conflict after the debate on the duration of nuclear energy. “We want a restrictive law on arms export control that creates transparency in particular on the licenses granted and the respective justifications, as well as on the actual export of weapons and war armaments,” the motion states, which includes requests for changes from the base. The motion is expected to receive broad approval at the federal delegates’ conference this Saturday. A grassroots motion calling for the withdrawal of export licenses already granted is considered a minority position.

In it, the authors record a conflict that worries the party: “Our value-oriented foreign policy faces a dilemma: on the one hand, we want deeper arms cooperation with our European partners in line with our values, on the other hand, on a restrictive European arms export policy still requires a lot of persuasion “. Saudi Arabia, for example, receives weapons developed in collaboration with several European countries. In late September, the federal government approved the export of spare parts and ammunition for the Eurofighter and Tornado fighter jets.

No stop to European projects, for the moment

“It has been shown that the government of Saudi Arabia is committing massive human rights violations and is a part of the war in the Yemen war. That is why we reject any arms exports to Saudi Arabia,” the Green motion states. Indeed, the federal government’s relatively restrictive arms export directive, which intends to refine the traffic light again, rules out such transactions with Riyadh or other comparable governments. At the European level, Federal Economics Minister Robert Habeck must not obstruct his party’s instructions. “We want joint European decisions on arms exports based on a joint assessment of the security situation and European values,” reads the statement. Until then, Habeck should not have vetoed friendly EU states for party reasons.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also defended the found formula. “We don’t deliver directly to Saudi Arabia. There are no German weapons for Saudi Arabia, where human rights are being trampled on,” Baerbock said in her speech. These are only old contracts and the delivery by other EU partners of goods developed in Germany. The latter is a “difficult consideration”. But without joint armament projects, defending Germany would become even more expensive. “I want European cooperation on arms issues so that we can defend ourselves and not have to weigh defense against social spending.”

On Friday, the Greens, among other things, had denied Habeck’s plan for a nuclear power plant reserve, albeit under well-defined conditions. This Saturday, the party is discussing, among other things, its position in foreign and security policy and a motion to protect critical infrastructure. The debate on the coal compromise negotiated by Habeck in North Rhine-Westphalia is highly anticipated: RWE had decided to end opencast mining and coal-fired power generation in 2030, eight years ahead of schedule. But since RWE is still allowed to demolish the L├╝tzerath settlement, defended by many activists, things are simmering at the party base and in environmental and climate associations close to the Greens.

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