The German government said on Thursday it would extend for a further six months a ban on exporting arms to Saudi Arabia which has strained ties with fellow European arms exporters with whom German companies have joint programs.

The ban, imposed after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, has been criticized by European allies since it put a question mark over billions of euros of military orders, including a 10 billion pound ($13.27 billion) deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh that would be led by Britain's BAE Systems.

The freeze has pitted Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives against their Social Democrat coalition partners, who are keen to woo traditional voters skeptical about arms sales and worried about Saudi involvement in Yemen's war.

"The ban will be extended for a further six months to September 30," read an e-mailed statement by government spokesman Steffen Seibert. "Over this period no new export applications will be approved."

Source: National News Agency

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