Greece okays Dutch tank ordnance order despite debt crisis

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Greece, mired in debt, said Friday it had ordered tank ordnance from The Netherlands worth 13.5 million euros, two days before a historic election that could determine its place in the eurozone.

"The state council of foreign affairs and defence met to discuss the order of tank ammunition through a bilateral agreement with The Netherlands," government spokesman Dimitris Tsiodras told reporters.

"The order is worth around 13.5 million euros ($16.9 million) and falls under a decision by the competent parliamentary committee (in March)," Tsiodras said.

The ammunition will be used by Greece's German-made Leopard tanks, a government source said.

Greece has several open arms programmes dating from 2006, including orders for submarines, frigates and warplanes.

But successive governments since 2010 have been obliged to reconsider them in the wake of a financial crisis that put the country on the brink of bankruptcy.

In March, Greece also pulled out early from international anti-piracy patrols in the Indian Ocean to save costs.

Greece's main defence fair, scheduled for October, was scrapped this week amid ongoing uncertainty surrounding the elections, organisers said.

© 2012 AFP

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