Sources in Berlin confirmed that two top lobbyist companies have paid cash for some German MPs to turn blind eye on arms deal between Germany and UAE. The companies were paid by the UAE embassy in Berlin in 2020 and 2022. The MPs who received the payments work in defence and human rights committees in the Bundestag. The United Arab Emirates has reportedly lobbied several European countries in hopes of easing the restrictions on weapons exports. Emirati officials are in discussion with their European counterparts and have stressed that Gulf is in need to defend itself. The country has been highlighting the UAE’s drawdown of troops in Yemen. The restrictions were imposed because of concerns that weapons might get used in the conflict in Yemen. The weapon ban was due to the Saudi-led military coalition, which includes the UAE, and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
The Lobbying Efforts Of the UAE Have Resulted In Success In Germany
The lobbying efforts made by the UAE’s defenses have been successful in Germany. The Gulf state keeps closely guarded on grounds of national security and they have been demanding Europe ease the weapons export ban.
Germany has granted an export license for German-made generators that will be used in protecting UAE cities and airports. The push by Emirati officials and their lobbying efforts started when the tanker attacks off the Gulf state’s coast this summer intensified. This followed an assault on oil plants in neighboring Saudi Arabia in mid-September.
The UAE government’s media office and foreign ministry have not responded to any of these issues. According to recent details, the UAE started to withdraw troops in June and a small number remain in strategic locations.
Emirati Lobbying Effort With Germany Intensifies
The UAE has tightened security at home and the Emirati authorities have expanded coastguard patrols around the country as well. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are under harsh criticism in the West over Yemen.
This conflict has resulted in the death of tens of thousands of people and has also pushed many areas in Yemen to the brink of famine. This was the major reason why Germany had imposed a ban on exporting weapons to parties that were directly involved in the Yemen war.
Emirati effort with Germany was headed by Sultan al-Jaber who is the UAE’s special envoy for Germany. The chief executive of the state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), has also made a lot of efforts to ease the weapon ban restrictions. Jaber and other UAE officials have raised concerns about the ban with the German officials in the last five meetings held between Berlin and Abu Dhabi since May.
“The moment the UAE pulled out of Yemen it was a game-changer” for the German government, said a person who is a close source of the German and UAE officials on the negotiations.
Emirates Lobbying Linked To The Swedish Defense Firm Saab
Germany is pleased with UAE’s retreat from Yemen and it also views the Gulf state as playing a constructive role in Libya. Several German government officials have been siding with the UAE and it seems as if the lobbying activities of the UAE have already paid off.
“The government … makes choices on permits for arms exports on a case-by-case basis and in light of the situation after careful assessments that take into account foreign policy and security considerations,” the economy ministry said in a statement.
Swedish defense firm Saab AB < SAABb.ST> has also pressed Stockholm on Abu Dhabi’s behalf and has urged the government to secure licenses for GlobalEyesurveillance jets. These jets are equipped with a multi-sensor early warning system.
Saab has soughed the licenses, then would enable them to export two additional jets. Sweden in January tightened the criteria for new export licenses to all the countries that have been involved in the Yemen war. The tighter criteria mean that the weapons sold to the UAE would be more closely scrutinized by the Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP).
Saab, a press released stressed the UAE’s intention to purchase two new surveillance jets. The firm claims that UAE is purchasing the jets in “amendment” to a previous contract that was pre-dated in January. The new purchases would be worth $1 billion.
Saab’s president and chief executive, Micael Johansson, shared that UAE has secured a license this autumn and will be buying two surveillance jets. It was unclear what had prompted the government to award the licenses. “I don’t know exactly how Swedish authorities and politicians assessed that factor but of course, it helps if the (Yemen) conflict is going in the right direction,” said Johansson.