In an interview with German public television’s Tagesthemen program, Maas said there was no reason to approve sales while it was still unclear what had happened to Khashoggi, in an apparent reversal of last month’s decision to authorize the sale of artillery systems to Riyadh.
“So long as investigations are underway, so long as we don’t know what happened there, there is no reason to take positive decisions on arms exports to Saudi Arabia,” Reuters cited Maas as saying.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the head of the German Foreign Ministry Heiko Maas earlier said in a joint statement that Berlin considers the information provided by Saudi Arabia regarding Khashoggi's death insufficient.
Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist, went missing on October 2. He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, where he went to receive papers he needed to remarry. Later, Saudi authorities announced that a preliminary investigation had shown that Khashoggi was dead.
The authorities said 18 Saudi nationals had been detained in relation with the matter, and intelligence chief Ahmad Assiri and senior aide to the Saudi crown prince Saud al-Qahtani had been sacked over the killing.