A German company has been asked to tender for the supply of 200 tanks to Qatar, according to a report in Der Spiegel magazine, in what could prove a politically controversial move.
A deal potentially worth nearly 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) is being considered for the purchase of 200 German tanks by the Gulf state of Qatar, according to a Der Spiegel report.
The Arab state is considering the purchase of 200 powerful tanks from defense firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. They are reportedly interested in the A7 model for the Leopard-2 tank, which is enhanced for urban combat. According to Der Spiegel, a group from the firm visited Qatar several weeks ago to discuss the deal.
Qatar has supported rebels in Syria and helped with the overthrow last year of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
Opposition is inevitable
If such a deal were to move forward, there would be a political backlash in Germany.
German arms exports outside of NATO require a clearance from the Federal Security Council, a secretive panel made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel and close aides, and it is not yet clear whether such a sale would get the go-ahead.
Senior politician Volker Beck, of the Green Party, said he was opposed to any sale of tanks to Qatar, calling into question the country's human rights record.
Last month, Saudi Arabia expressed interest in a similar purchase of between 600 and 800 Leopard-2 tanks. Merkel came under fire for that reported sale from opposition politicians and even a few from within her ruling, center-right coalition.
Der Spiegel's report said that both Merkel's office and the economy ministry were nonetheless in favor of the deal with Qatar.
tm/ccp (dpa, AFP)