U.K. Won't Follow Germany in Banning Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K won’t follow Germany’s lead and ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia following the killing of columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, said.

Defense manufacturer BAE Systems Plc’s share price fell on Thursday after saying German limits on exports to the kingdom following Khashoggi’s death threaten its ability to do business there.

BAE, which counts Germany as a partner on the Eurofighter and other programs, is working with the British government to minimize the impact of the restrictions on its ability to fulfill its contracts.

BAE is seeking to sell an additional 48 Typhoon fighter jets to the Saudis and needs German approval to supply parts for maintenance and servicing for their current fleet of Eurofighter, Tornado and Hawk aircraft.

“We make a judgement on each and every export-license application and we will continue to do so,” Burt said in an interview at a summit of European and Arab leaders in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. “I am aware of the concerns in relation to the impact of Germany’s position and I think other elements of the government are aware of it as well.”

BAE should “continue to do the work which they do,” Burt said, and its executives should “abide as they do through the export licences and the like.”

“The United Kingdom understands the issues which they are facing,” he added.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.