Germany: Dolphin subs to be supplied to Israel from 2010
German opposition criticizes deal, citing risk that submarines might be used to carry nuclear weapons; 'delivery of these two Dolphin class submarines is foreseen for 2010, not earlier, therefore vessels have no relevance to current conflict in Middle East,' government spokesman says
A deal under which Germany will sell Israel two submarines foresees the vessels being delivered starting in 2010, and they are not being equipped to fire nuclear weapons, an official said Friday.
The German government said earlier this week that the HDW shipyard signed a contract with Israeli authorities July 6 to build the two Dolphin-class submarines. Israel already has three of that type submarine.
"The delivery of these two Dolphin class submarines is foreseen for 2010, not earlier, according to current planning," and therefore the vessels have "no relevance" to the current conflict in the Middle East, government spokesman Thomas Steg told reporters.
Some members of the German opposition have criticized the deal, citing the risk that the submarines might be used to carry nuclear weapons. Israel has never confirmed or denied that it has such weapons.
Steg noted that there was an agreement on the deal between both governments, signed November 21.
"The submarines will not ... Be built and equipped for the firing of nuclear weapons, but are designed for the conduct of conventional war," he said.
Asked if Germany wanted assurances from Israel on that point, Steg said: "We have no mistrust and no suspicion toward our Israeli partner."