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Süddeutsche Zeitung: Germany delivers tanks to Qatar

Germany has shipped several tanks and armored howitzers to Qatar, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports. With Qatar's apparent involvement in airstrikes on Yemen, the move could be troublesome for Germany's vice chancellor.

The shipment, including four Leopard 2 tanks and three howitzers, recently left Germany and is on its way to the Middle East, according to the Friday edition of the German Süddeutsche Zeitung.

This runs contrary to the weapons policy outlined in a speech by German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel last year, who specifically stated that sending tanks into the restive Gulf region was "unjustifiable."

The recent shipment is only first part of a larger deal from early 2013, with a total value of some 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion). The contract envisioned the sale of 62 Leopard tanks and 24 armored howitzers to Qatar, along with other military hardware.

The deal was approved by the previous German government before the fighting in Yemen and before the Saudi-led coalition supporting the Yemen government.

The current authorities have investigated the possibilities to stop the delivery "due to the changed political situation in the region," Süddeutsche Zeitung reports, citing documents from Gabriel's Economy Ministry.

According to the same memo, some of the officials were not ready to cancel the shipment, partly because the weapons manufacturer would have the possibility to seek damages from German authorities.

Berlin now intends to seek assurance from Doha that no German tanks will be used in Yemen, according to the report.

dj/rc (dpa, AFP)

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