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West German Tank Manufacturer Discussing Sales with Saudis

The manufacturer of West Germany’s most sophisticated assault tank, the Leopard II, has confirmed that its representatives are currently negotiating with Saudi Arabian officials for the sale of the advanced weapons system to that country.

Hans-Heinz Griesmeier, chairman of the board of the Bavaria-based Krauss-Maffei Co., informed the company’s shareholders at a meeting in Munich that the negotiations were “technical contacts on a working level” in anticipation that the government will lift the ban on the sale of advanced weapons to countries in high tension areas, such as Saudi Arabia.

Griesmeier said he could not provide more detailed information because of political considerations. Nevertheless, the negotiations with the Saudis are proceeding with the consent of the authorities in charge of arms sales abroad, he said. Karl Schmidt, a spokesman for Krauss-Maffei, said the board had a mandate to solicit customers for the tank both within and outside the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

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