BERLIN May 3 The German government has approved
the sale to Indonesia of about 100 used Leopard 2 tanks and 50
armoured personnel carriers but has put off a decision on a tank
sale to Saudi Arabia, a defence source said on Friday.
Germany's national security council, which includes
Chancellor Angela Merkel and some cabinet ministers, must
approve large arms sales and the government never comments on
Indonesia, southeast Asia's largest economy, had previously
indicated it would buy 130 Leopard tanks from Germany's
Rheinmetall AG as part of a $15 billion five-year
campaign to modernise its military.
The German source did not say how much the deal was worth
but Indonesia said last year the value of the initial agreement
to buy 130 tanks was $280 million.
Indonesia, which has economic growth of above 6 percent, is
wary of being left behind as China, Vietnam, Thailand and other
Asian nations ramp up defence spending. This year it announced
plans to buy more than a dozen Russian Sukhoi fighter jets as
well as domestically made, missile-equipped patrol ships.
The industry source said Berlin would delay a decision on
whether to sell tanks to Saudi Arabia until after the federal
election in September. It is a sensitive issue in Germany where
the opposition criticises sales to some Middle Eastern countries
because of their human rights record.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Gareth Jones; Editing
by Stephen Brown and Mark Potter)