Gabriel accused of "double standards" concerning arms trade – German arms exports to non-NATO countries at record level

Federal Government debates on arms export report (June 11th)

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) accuses Sigmar Gabriel, the Federal Economy Minister, of "double standards" concerning arms exports. "In public, Gabriel preaches abstinence. At the same time, the especially problematic German arms exports to third countries have reached a new record level. If these questionable arms deals continue, Gabriel's promises that Germany will cut down on arms exports are just a sham," criticized the STP in Göttingen on Wednesday – while the Economy Minister informed the cabinet on the 2013 German arms exports report.

"Algeria and Saudi Arabia are among Germany's most important arms exports customers – states, in which human rights are frequently trampled on. Gabriel's double standards could intensify the arms race in North Africa and the Middle East and help to strengthen dictatorships and authoritarian states. He is far away from keeping his election campaign promises. "In the first four months of 2014, the export licenses to third countries issued by the Federal Economy Ministry increased by 128 million Euros compared to the same period of the year before – to a total of 649 million Euros. Gabriel had promised a significant reduction of German arms exports in case the SPD were able to win the elections. He had also publicly condemned Germany's previous arms exports to dictatorial states.

For example, Germany supplied Saudi Arabia with tanks and warships, although the Kingdom supports Islamist rebels in Syria and has established a women- and minority-hostile policy throughout the country. The example of Algeria shows how dangerous arms exports to countries that are not members of the EU or the NATO can be. "It is absurd that Germany and France are supporting the arms race between the warring states of Algeria and Morocco despite the common European policy on arms exports," said the STP's Africa-consultant Ulrich Delius. Thus, the Ministry of Economic Affairs approved of arms exports to Algeria worth 29 million Euros in the period from January to April 2014. Algeria and Morocco are not only locked in a struggle for supremacy in North Africa: there are also considerable tensions because of the fact that Morocco illegally occupied the Western Sahara. Given the difficult security situation, the arms deals with Algeria are absolutely irresponsible," said Delius.

Ulrich Delius, head of STP's Africa department, is available for further questions: +49 551 49906 27 or afrika@gfbv.de.