German tank sale to Saudi Arabia likely to be cancelled: newspaper

BERLIN Sun Apr 13, 2014 5:57am EDT

Leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) Sigmar Gabriel arrives for a party board meeting in Berlin February 17, 2014. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

Leader of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) Sigmar Gabriel arrives for a party board meeting in Berlin February 17, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

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BERLIN (Reuters) - A sale of several hundred German battle tanks to Saudi Arabia is likely to be cancelled because of opposition from Social Democrat Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.

German media have reported interest by Saudi Arabia in buying up to 800 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany. Such reports are never confirmed because of the sensitivity of arms deals.

The newspaper said Saudi Arabia had tried for years to get the tanks from German firms Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall and had some 18 billion euros ($25 billion) available in its budget for the purchase.

"The government will not approve the disputed export," Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported, citing government sources.

"Gabriel plays a key role in this, as he has positioned himself against a tanks delivery to the autocratic royal house, according to government sources."

Arms sales are a sensitive issue in Germany because of the country's Nazi past and the role of arms makers in fuelling 19th and 20th century wars.

Germany's national security council, which includes conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel and the ministers of economy, defense, development and foreign affairs, has to approve such deals but its decisions are not made public.

Gabriel has told media in the past he thought it was a "shame" that Germany exported so many weapons.

(Reporting by Annika Breidthardt; editing by Andrew Roche)

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Comments (2)
JamVee wrote:
The shame is that the world still wants to buy more arms.

Until we discover how to co-exist peacefully, with each other, arms will be made, bought, sold and USED (on one another). That is the real shame!

Apr 13, 2014 9:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
UNeed_Mila wrote:
Right time for the big democrat Obama to hop in and sell some M1 Abrams! Supporting a government that doesn’t allow women to drive has been his specialty for quite some time now…

Apr 13, 2014 4:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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