Sale of defence system goes ahead
19 October 2007, AMSTERDAM - The Dutch government will go ahead with the sale of outdated HAWK-parts to Israel, Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told parliament Friday.
19 October 2007
AMSTERDAM - The Dutch government will go ahead with the sale of outdated HAWK-parts to Israel, Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen told parliament Friday.
The HAWK is a ground-based air defence system comparable with the US Patriot system, which can take down missiles and fighter aircraft. Israel says it wants the parts to maintain its air defence system.
Earlier this week all left wing parties GroenLinks, the Socialists Party (SP) and the PvdA said they opposed the deal. GroenLinks and the SP are in the opposition, while the PvdA is a government coalition party.
The left wing parties argued the Netherlands violated its earlier position not to sell any arms to parties in conflict areas, including Israel.
But Verhagen said selling parts of an air defence system was not the same as selling arms. He stressed the HAWK cannot be used in the conflict with the Palestinians, nor be used against the Palestinian population.
Verhagen said a licence for the sale would be provided once the contract has been signed in November, and after the US had permitted the sale of the original American equipment.
Deputy Defence Minister Cees van der Knaap had informed parliament about the planned sale on Monday.
[Copyright dpa 2007]
Subject: Dutch news