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Israel not entitled to veto Berlin’s decisions: German defence minister



German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere addresses a press conference in Berlin on October 26, 2011.

German government has dismissed Israeli pressure to obstruct the probable sale of two attack submarines to Egypt, saying no country is entitled to ‘veto’ Berlin’s decisions.

“No country in the world has the right of veto to decisions taken by the German government,” Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere told the German daily Frankfurter Rundschau on Saturday when asked to comment on Israel’s pressure on Berlin to cancel the deal.

He said the transaction to sell the two Type 209 attack submarines to Egypt could not be affected by ‘instability’ in the North African country that is experiencing the first months of its fledgling democracy with Mohamed Morsi at the helm.

The remarks come two weeks after commander in chief of the Egyptian Navy Osama al-Gindi first revealed the agreement to buy two conventional diesel-electric submarines from Germany, sparking outrage in Tel Aviv.

Israeli media quoted government officials as saying that there had been “a marked deterioration in relations between Israel and Germany” over the deal, a claim rejected by the German government that has refused to comment on the probable sale.

Germany also faced Israel’s scathing criticism last July over the sale of 200 Leopard combat tanks to Saudi Arabia.

Opposition to the recent deal comes as Germany has already provided Tel Aviv with three atomic-capable submarines which the Israeli regime, according to SPIEGEL, has equipped with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

The three Dolphin-class submarines have been subsidized by the German government, which has signed contracts to supply the Israeli regime with three more by 2017.

The left-leaning German daily Die Tageszeitung says “It’s a serious matter when Germany, as the world’s third-largest arms exporter, apparently pays little consideration to the consequences of its policy (of exporting submarines to Israel).”

“After all, military equipment is not supposed to be exported to crisis regions (under German government guidelines). This applies to the export of German tanks to Saudi Arabia as well as to the supply of nuclear-capable submarines to Israel, whose government is currently openly threatening to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities,” the paper adds.

However, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s stated position is that the security of Israel is part of Germany’s raison d’état, or national interest, according to German media.

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