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Germany's Altmaier sees room for maneuver on arms exports

BERLIN (Reuters) – The German government must stick to language on arms export controls included in its coalition agreement, but there is some room for maneuver in interpreting parts of those accord, Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said on Thursday.

Altmaier warned Germany risked harming its defense industry through unilateral arms embargoes, such as the one imposed on weapons sales to Riyadh after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi operatives in Turkey last October.

He said he had argued unsuccessfully for Germany to push for a joint European position on arms exports to Saudi Arabia instead of taking action on its own. Altmaier added that France and Germany were working on a bilateral agreement, but that some aspects of that effort were proving difficult.

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