Just days after Germany announced it was suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia - just weeks after inking a $500 million weapons deal with Riyadh - while the outrage over Khashoggi's murder lingers, French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday was less enthused about following in the footsteps of his ideological icon, Angela Merkel, and 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.
During a Tuesday visit to a naval defense show, journalists asked Macron 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, to which the French president with the plunging approval rating was clearly triggered:
"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 responded, visibly irritated according to Reuters.
"It's not because one leader says something that I must react to it every time. So I won't answer that," he added in a bout of insecurity, after a journalist asked a follow-up question.
As we reported on Monday, Macron's co-leader of Europe's
hypocritical progressive movement of ideological purity, 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. After her comments, Germany's economy minister - hoping that Germany does not lose market share as it engages in international virtue signaling - 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.
His appeal failed to stir Macron, however.
Macron has sought to play down the importance of trade relations with Riyadh, saying that Saudi Arabia was not a major client of France. Which is ironic, because from 2008-17, the Saudis were the second-biggest purchasers of French arms, with deals totalling more than 11 billion euros ($12.6 billion) for tanks, armoured vehicles, munitions, artillery.
One may ask where this progressive, liberal European echo chamber was during the 3 years in which Saudis were bombing and murdering innocent civilians in Yemen without anyone batting an eyelid, let along halting the shipment of a single bomb. One would not get an answer.