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Germany, Israel fail to agree on submarine sale
Berlin government spokesman says 'no concrete negotiations with Israel over sixth submarine

Germany and Israel have failed to agree on the sale of a German submarine to the Jewish state, Berlin said on Friday.

 

"There is no financial commitment," government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said.

 

"There are no concrete negotiations with Israel over a sixth submarine. As for whether there are informal talks -- because of the nature of the matter, I can make no statement on this."

 

The US journal Defense News reported this week that Chancellor Angela Merkel's government had turned down Israel's request for a discount of up to one-third on the price of a $1.6 billion package including two other warships and torpedoes.

 

The full cost of the diesel-powered Dolphin class submarine would be some $700 million. Others already in Israel's fleet were extensively underwritten by Germany, which is dedicated to the security of the Jewish state, founded in the aftermath of the Holocaust.

 

With Germany currently reining in public finances in the country's biggest post-war austerity drive, Berlin has made clear it can grant no additional military aid at the moment.

 

Wilhem's comments appear to confirm the end of a year of negotiations Israel had hoped would lead Berlin to grant large subsidies, as it has in previous sales.

 

Israel would find it extremely hard to buy the vessels without German subsidies, having decided last week to trim its defense budget by 5% in 2011 and in 2012.

 

It had hoped for similar aid on two Meko corvettes, built at ThyssenKrupp's Blohm+Voss shipyards in Hamburg, and Defense News reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appealed to Merkel personally on the matter.

 

Wilhelm said the two leaders spoke on the phone over the past week but could not say whether naval aid was brought up. 

 

 

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