Berlin denies reported submarine sales to Egypt would affect ties with Jerusalem
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Berlin denies reported submarine sales to Egypt would affect ties with Jerusalem

Germany's commitment to Israel's security remains untouched, government spokesperson says, without confirming plans to sell Cairo two attack subs

Raphael Ahren is the diplomatic correspondent at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative photo of a Type-209 attack submarine (photo credit: Martín Otero/Wikimedia Commons)
Illustrative photo of a Type-209 attack submarine (photo credit: Martín Otero/Wikimedia Commons)

Germany rejected claims Monday that its reported sale of two submarines to Egypt would harm ties with Israel.

“Nothing has changed on the German position on Israel and the commitment the federal government has to Israel’s security,” government’s spokesman Steffen Seibert said in Berlin.

Last week, Egypt’s new navy chief said Cairo had signed an agreement with Berlin to buy two German-built Type 209 attack submarines. Yedioth Ahronoth had reported that the reported deal caused friction between Israel and Germany. The paper also claimed that Jerusalem sought to torpedo the deal, a report that was dismissed by the Egyptian navy.

“The only two parties determining the fate of this deal are the German and Egyptian governments and not Israeli newspapers which try to destabilize security within Egypt,” an unnamed Egyptian navy official said.

Seibert said German secrecy laws prevented him from commenting on the reports.

Arms exports need to be approved by the Federal Security Council.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem in 2011 (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Jerusalem in 2011 (photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO/Flash90)

In 2008, Chancellor Angela Merkel said during a speech in the Knesset that Israel’s security is part of her country’s “raison d’être.” Therefore, she vowed, “Israel’s security will never be open to negotiation.”

Israel currently uses three Dolphin-class submarines, which have been fully or partially funded by the German government. A fourth was transferred to the Israeli navy in May. Germany is due to deliver a fifth submarine in 2018, and the contract for a sixth was signed recently. According to foreign media reports, Israel’s submarine fleet is equipped with nuclear capabilities.

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