A call to engage in dialogue

Saudi Arabia/Iran A call to engage in dialogue

The German government is calling on Saudi Arabia and Iran to engage in dialogue. It has called on both states to leave no stone unturned in order to improve bilateral relations, said federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert. The German government, he said, had noted with dismay the execution of prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

Steffen Seibert, federal government spokesperson, during the government press conference at the federal press conference

The door must remain open for diplomatic efforts, says Steffen Seibert

Photo: Bundesregierung/Güngör

We oppose the death penalty, and the German government demands the unconditional abolition of capital punishment wherever it is practiced, said government spokesperson Steffen Seibert. The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr could also worsen religious and political tensions in the region.

The execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, the storming of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Teheran and the breaking off of diplomatic relations between the two states has sparked another crisis in the Middle East.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier calls for de-escalation

The Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has also spoken by telephone with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia and Iran. He reaffirmed that this is the time „to choose deescalation and understanding, and ideally to enter into dialogue“, confirmed Martin Schäfer, spokesperson of the Federal Foreign Office on Wednesday. In his telephone call on Tuesday, the Federal Foreign Minister urged his counterpart not to jeopardise the Vienna process, which is seeking to find a solution to the conflict in Syria.

Responsible actors in the region called on

For years the international community has been endeavouring to stem conflicts in the region, and has shown huge political and financial engagement. That is why, said Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, "Saudi Arabia and Iran in particular owe us something". He continued, "Now we need responsible actors in the region, who act responsibly, both in Riyadh and in Teheran. I trust, and I expect, decision-makers to do so". Riyadh and Teheran ought to focus on fostering political solutions in Syria, in Yemen and elsewhere, thus undermining ISIS.

Syrian-Syrian dialogue

The German government noted with great regret that Saudi Arabia has broken off diplomatic relations with Iran. Steffen Seibert said, "Relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, however turbulent they may be, are fundamental to resolving the crises in Syria and Yemen and to achieving stability across the entire region." In Saudi Arabia, Syrian opposition representatives are currently meeting to prepare for the Syrian-Syrian dialogue, which is scheduled to take place in Geneva at the end of this month.

Restrictive licensing practice

Exports of military equipment are one instrument in foreign and security policy. The human rights situation, and the situation on the ground at local level and in the region is evaluated on a case by case basis. Licensing practice is based on this.

The German government takes a restrictive approach to any exports of military equipment to the Gulf region. Exports of combat weapons like battle tanks and weapons that are likely to be used for repressive purposes like the G36 assault rifle will not be approved. The government did not issue a license, for instance, for the export of G36 assault rifles to Saudi Arabia.