BERLIN(Reuters) – Germany’s coalition government is at odds over whether to bow to British pressure and approve the production of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets for Saudi Arabia, the newspaper Welt Am Sonntag reported on Saturday, citing anonymous sources.
A deal struck by Riyadh and BAE Systems five years ago for the arms maker to supply 48 such jets was put on hold due to the war in Yemen, where Saudi-led Arab forces intervened in 2015.
A third of the components for the jets come from Germany, industry sources told Reuters at the time.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner are leaning towards allowing the export, but the Greens, and parts of the SPD, are strongly against the move, according to the report.
Germany imposed a hardline halt to arms sales to Riyadh following the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018, taking a far tougher approach than major allies such as the United States, France and Britain.
Political Cartoons on World Leaders
A March 2018 governing accord between then-chancellor Angela Merkel and the SPD banned arms sales to any parties to the war in Yemen, except for certain previously approved items and those that will remain in the purchasing country.
Since the rapprochement of Saudi Arabia and Iran, which could end their proxy war in Yemen, the British have argued that Germany cannot block the export of Eurofighter jets to third parties.
A spokesperson for the Chancellery declined to comment to Welt am Sonntag.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Victoria Waldersee; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.