Berlin to offer Gulf nations military aid

24th February 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 February 2005, BERLIN - With German willingness to arm Arabian Peninsula nations growing, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's seven-nation tour of the Gulf next week is expected to produce several agreements opening the way to weapons sales. Officials in Berlin regard the Gulf states as "strategic partners" in the throes of developing a new "security architecture". Political and business negotiations were already well under way on several concrete projects. When the chancellor visits the United Arab E

25 February 2005

BERLIN - With German willingness to arm Arabian Peninsula nations growing, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's seven-nation tour of the Gulf next week is expected to produce several agreements opening the way to weapons sales.

Officials in Berlin regard the Gulf states as "strategic partners" in the throes of developing a new "security architecture". Political and business negotiations were already well under way on several concrete projects.

When the chancellor visits the United Arab Emirates, a long- awaited agreement for Germany to sell the UAE 22 Fuchs armoured reconnaissance vehicles (ARVs) worth EUR 160 million is likely to be finally signed.

Exports to the region require a special German government clearance and have been a delicate issue for decades.

The Fuchs manufacturer, Rheinmetall, says Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain, all of which will be stops on the Schroeder tour, have shown strong interest in buying large stocks of the six-wheeled vehicles.

A Fuchs is a mobile laboratory that can safely detect radioactivity and chemical and biological weapons after an attack. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the region ever permitted to buy them, with a fleet of 16 bought a decade ago.

Rohde und Schwarz, a Munich maker of radio and measuring instruments, has been hired to modernize the UAE armed forces' communications system, while the UAE navy has ordered a Rheinmetall anti-missile decoy system for four of its corvettes.

The multi-ammunition softkill system (MASS) fires volleys of decoys which divert an enemy missile from its intended target.

Industry sources add that the emirates are also keen on buying the GTK Boxer, a new eight-wheeled armoured infantry vehicle (AIV) that Krauss-Maffei-Wegner introduced last year as a successor to the AIV version of the Fuchs.

News reports that the UAE is interested in buying hundreds of second-hand Leopard II main battle tanks, Marder AIVs and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers from German armed forces stocks have not been borne out. Sources say an approach has yet to be received.

The sources say it is more likely that Gulf governments may purchase used submarines from the German navy.

Given the growing terrorist threat, German arms exporters believe the Gulf region is a potent market for ancillary defence systems too.

During Schroeder's stay in Yemen, a contract is to be signed for a sale of 10 coastguard patrol boats worth EUR 100 million from the Luerssen dockyards in the North German port city of Bremen.

Also on the chancellor's plane will be senior businessmen from Siemens and EADS, which are suppliers of electronic border-monitoring systems. Several emirates are inviting tenders worth billions of dollars to improve surveillance of long, empty desert frontiers.

Schroeder leaves Sunday on the trip, which will take him to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman and the UAE, and returns to Berlin on 5 March.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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