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Coalition argues over Saudi Arabia tank deal

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Coalition argues over Saudi Arabia tank deal
Saudi Arabia wants to buy 800 tanks. Photo: DPA
08:58 CEST+02:00
An €18-billion deal to sell Saudi Arabia 800 tanks is causing tension within Germany's coalition government.

The country’s economy minister Sigmar Gabriel, from the centre left Social Democrats (SPD), wants to block the deal with Germany’s biggest arms market, Bild newspaper reported on Sunday.

But on Monday politicians from the Conservative bloc of the coalition attacked the move.

Florian Hahn, defence spokesman for the Christian Social Union (CSU), said it was “astounding” that the economy minister, who is also Germany’s vice chancellor, would not look out for the German arms industry.

“The vice chancellor is burying the German arms industry,” Hahn told the Passauer Neue Presse.

Michael Fuchs, from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservative bloc, the CDU/CSU, also warned against torpedoing the sale of the Leopard 2 tanks to the autocratic country.

“We need to be clear what it would mean for the German arms industry,” he said. “If German arms firms can no longer export [to countries] outside of Nato, there will be no arms industry in Germany in the future.”

Arms deals to the Saudis are controversial because of the country’s human rights record and regional rivalry with Israel.

According to Bild the deal has been under discussion for two years. 

SEE ALSO: Merkel gets flak for record Gulf arms sales

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