The ban, which Germany instituted following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, applies to countries involved in the Yemen war, and has led to both domestic and international tension, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's government facing pressure from the German arms industry and some EU neighbors angered over the export freeze.
The ban was originally set to last until March 9.
"We decided this [extension] with a view to developments in Yemen," Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said following a meeting of Merkel's cabinet. "We believe that the Yemen war must end as soon as possible."
"Not only will there not be any permits issued until the end of this month, but products with permits already granted will also not be delivered," Maas added.
The minister said that the German government would evaluate the arms export situation with respect to developments in Yemen over the course of the month.
The #unilateral extension of the ban on #armsexports primarily affects European partners. #Berlin threatens future joint projects and its own ambitions to foster a common European #defense policy. #Germany isolates itself in #Europe even further. @Der_BDI https://t.co/QRHJHMVQTW— Matthias Wachter (@WachterBDI) March 6, 2019
Around 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the war in Yemen since 2015, when Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention into the country's ongoing civil war.
Criticized both for arms export and ban
Germany, one of the world's top arms exporters, has frequently faced criticism for its foreign arms sales. Merkel's government has approved billions of euros of exports, including to nations accused of human rights abuses and or engaged in violent conflict.
More than half of all Germans disapprove of their country's arms sales, but France and the UK have criticized Germany's Saudi Arabia ban, arguing that it hinders joint defense projects. The two countries have called on Germany to lift the ban.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Because of the war Germany delivers export licences for weapons, the decision to freeze arms exports to Saudi Arabia is also affecting France and the United Kingdom, which produce and deliver weapons using German parts and components to Saudi Arabia as well as to their own armed forces and to other countries.
The freeze also makes Germany appear as an unreliable partners and supplier, which puts its future role in European cooperative programs at risk, while obviously disqualifying German industry from future subcontracts in other European defense programs.)