BRUSSELS, Nov 19, (AFP): Germany will bar 18 Saudis from entering its territory and Europe’s Schengen passport free zone over their alleged links to the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday.
Maas said the move was “coordinated very closely with” France and Britain and the broader EU as they seek more information in Khashoggi’s death last month in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Berlin has “decided that Germany should impose an entry ban on 18 Saudi citizens, who are presumed to be connected with this deed, in the Schengen information system,” Maas told reporters. “We are in close coordination on this issue within the European Union,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of EU ministers in Brussels.
“Over the weekend, we stated that we expected further steps to be taken to clarify the situation.” The murder and Riyadh’s explanations have angered its Western partners and raised tensions between United States and Saudi Arabia, a key oil supplier and US regional ally against Iran.
The United States last week sanctioned 17 Saudis for the crime. The Schengen zone is composed of 22 EU nations and four non-EU countries. EU member Britain is not part of the passport-free zone, but shares intelligence through Shengen Information System (SIS) for law enforcement purposes.
Maas said Berlin was following Britain’s example last month to bar Saudi suspects in the Khashoggi murder, including revoking British visas for those who already have them.