German military continues to train Saudi officers in spite of strains


Germany is continuing to train Saudi military officers, in spite of tensions over Saudi involvement in the Yemen civil war, according to information from the Defence Ministry on Monday.

Five Saudi soldiers are to start an officers’ course with the German Army in July, and a further two will be trained by the Air Force.

Over recent months, they have taken German language courses in Germany.

Another seven Saudis will go on a German language course in Germany from July with a view to starting officers’ training next year.

The training was agreed when German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen visited Riyadh in December 2016.

Since 2015, Saudi Arabia has headed an alliance of Arab states fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The rebels are being backed by Iran in a war that has led to humanitarian disaster described by the UN as the worst in the world.

Germany has imposed a partial arms embargo on countries involved in the Yemen conflict, and slapped a total ban on Saudi Arabia in November 2018 following the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

That ban was recently partially lifted in response to pressure from Britain and France in particular regarding arms exports with German components that fell under the ban.



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