French President will not boycott Saudi Arabia

President Macron refused to embargo Saudi Arabia after journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s violent death in Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. As Saudi Arabia is its second largest weapon purchaser, this is a sensitive issue for France.

Sara Saidi
Sara Saidi NewsMavens, France
French President will not boycott Saudi Arabia - NewsMavens
Emmanuel Macron, Wikimedia Commons

Why this story matters:

The French president has been criticized for his silence concerning a possible boycott of weapon sales to Saudi Arabia.

At first, Emmanuel Macron refused to comment when the German economy minister, Peter Altmaier, asked to European countries to stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia for as long as Jamal Khashoggi's assassination would remain unexplained.

When he finally spoke out, Macron defended his decision by saying that to embargo Saudi Arabia would be demagoguery. He also stated that, in his eyes, there is no correlation between the journalist’s death and arms sales.

He also minimized the importance of Saudi Arabia as an arms purchaser from France, saying that the relations between the two countries revolve around "strategic partnership".

But in reality, France delivered 1.3 billion euro worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia in 2017. According to the annual report on French arms exports released in June 2018, the country has been France’s second largest arm purchaser for the last 10 years.

Details from the story:

  • On October 2, 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has been killed in Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • On October 22, 2018, German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier declared Germany would refrain from approving further arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
  • He added:"For me it would be important that we come to a joint European stance, because only if all European countries are in agreement, it will make an impression on the government in Riyadh. It will not have any positive consequences if we halt arms exports but other countries at the same time fill the gap.”
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