News ID: 8058
Publish Date: 22 April 2012 - 18:29
Ex-German Chancellor
Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt slammed Chancellor Angela Merkel for giving the go-ahead for highly controversial arms exports to Israel and Saudi Arabia, the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported Sunday.

'I would not have done it,' Schmidt was quoted saying, referring to Berlin's plans

to sell up to 270 Leopard 2 combat tanks to Saudi Arabia, in addition to a total of six Dolphin class submarines to the Zionist regime which could be modified to carry nuclear warheads.

Both weapon deals have baffled many in Germany and abroad given the country's longstanding tradition of not selling arms to crisis regions like the volatile Middle East region.

Schmidt who was Germany'chancellor from 1974 until 82, had stalled the sale of Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia back in 1981.

According to a German government figures, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were among the 10 leading recipients of German weapons in 2010.

The tiny Persian Gulf sheikdom was ranked fifth in terms of total German arms exports last year which stood at 4.7 billion euros.

Germany sold around 262.7 million euros worth of military hardware to the UAE, among them radar systems, tank spare parts, trucks and minesweeping equipment.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, was listed 10th in the overall export of German weaponry with 152.5 million euros.

German military gadgetry to the Arabian country included electronic equipment, speedboat spare parts, submachine guns.

Peace groups have slammed German arms exports to the Middle East since the German constitution bans the sale of weapons to a crisis area.

The government refuses also to reveal the actual volume of weapon sales to the illegal Jewish state.

A major arms supplier of the Zionist regime, Berlin rarely talks in public about military deals as most of them are shrouded in utmost secrecy in a bid not to antagonize Muslim and Arab states.

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