Macron evades questions on halting Saudi arms sales

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French president was asked if France would stop weapons sales to Riyadh after it admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in its consulate.

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday refused to take questions about halting arms sales to Saudi Arabia despite Germany's calls on its European partners to follow its example and stop arms exports to the kingdom, reports FRANCE 24.

Journalists asked Macron during a visit to a naval defence show whether France would follow Germany in halting weapons sales to Riyadh after it admitted to the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in its consulate.

"This has nothing to do with what we're talking about. Nothing. So I won't answer that question. I'm sorry but as long as I'll be in office this is how it will be, whether people like it or not," he told reporters, visibly irritated.

"It's not because one leader says something that I must react to it every time. So I won't answer that," he added, after a journalist asked a follow-up question.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called the killing of Khashoggi a "monstrosity" and vowed to halt all German arms exports to Riyadh until the case is cleared up.

Her economy minister, Peter Altmaier, called on other European Union member states to follow its example in stopping arms exports to Saudi Arabia to increase pressure on Riyadh over the death of Khashoggi which has caused an international outcry.

Macron has sought to play down the importance of trade relations with Riyadh, saying that Saudi Arabia was not a major client of France.

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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