Fox News Flash top headlines for January 10
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- The German government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, has approved the export of 150 air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia.
- This decision marks a shift from Germany’s previous strict stance on arms exports to Saudi Arabia, which was imposed after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
- The approval comes after a conditional exception was made for systems developed jointly with other countries.
The German government has approved the export of air-defense missiles to Saudi Arabia, underlining a softening of its hard line of recent years toward arms exports to the kingdom.
Government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit on Wednesday confirmed a report by news magazine Der Spiegel that Germany’s Security Council, made up of Chancellor Olaf Scholz and several other ministers, approved the export of 150 air-to-air missiles for the Iris-T air defense system at the end of 2023.
The government of then-Chancellor Angela Merkel imposed a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018. It later made a conditional exception for systems developed jointly with other countries.
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News of the Iris-T export approval comes after Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Sunday that Germany is open to delivering more Eurofighter jets, made by a multinational consortium in which Berlin is involved, to Saudi Arabia. The government had previously opposed doing so in Germany’s current parliamentary term, which is due to end in the fall of 2025.
A Eurofighter from the German Air Force Weapons School takes off for an exercise in Large, Germany, on April 30, 2021. The German government has approved the export of air-defense missiles to Saudi Arabia, underlining a softening of its hard line of recent years toward arms exports to the kingdom. (Bernd Wuestneck/dpa via AP, File)
In their coalition agreement in late 2021, the current governing parties said that they wouldn’t approve weapons exports to countries that are “demonstrably directly involved in the war in Yemen.”
Hebestreit said Monday that Scholz shares Baerbock’s position. He said the government had re-evaluated the impact of the so-called “Yemen clause” on Saudi Arabia in light of developments in that conflict.
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He also pointed to what he called a “very constructive position” of Saudi Arabia toward Israel following the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas and said the Saudi air force had shot down missiles fired toward Israel by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
A tentative cease-fire between the Houthis and a Saudi-led coalition fighting on behalf of Yemen’s exiled government has held for months despite that country’s long war.