Speculation of German-Israeli Rift: Berlin Silent on Report of U-Boat Sale to Egypt
A report that Germany plans to sell two submarines to Egypt has triggered speculation about a deterioration in German relations with Israel. The German government stressed on Monday that it remained committed to Israel’s security — but officials declined to comment on the report.
The German government on Monday reaffirmed its commitment to Israel after media reports said relations between the two countries had been damaged by an unconfirmed deal to supply Egypt with two German-made submarines.
A German government spokesman declined to comment on an article which appeared in the Egyptian daily Al-Ahram last Friday and cited the commander-in-chief of the Egyptian navy, Osama al-Gindi, as saying: “We have agreed to a deal with Germany to procure two submarines of the latest 209 Class.”
On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman said only: “There has been no change in the German government’s position towards Israel, in the commitment the German government feels towards Israel’s security.”
But he declined to comment on the supposed deal, saying the government maintained secrecy concerning matters dealt with by the Federal Security Council, a government committee that decides on sensitive weapons export deals.
Israeli newspaper Jediot Achronot reported on Sunday that ties between Israel and Germany had dramatically deteriorated because of the deal. The Israeli government declined to comment on Monday.
Class 209 submarines are built by the companies HDW and Nordseewerke. Germany has sold some 60 of those vessels to 12 nations.