Germany Expanding Its Military Cooperation with Saudi Arabia

West Germany is expanding its military cooperation with Saudi Arabia by appointing a Military Attache at its Embassy in Riyadh where no such post previously existed. It is also sending a counter-terrorist expert to the Saudi capital; and the scheduled departure for Riyadh Sunday of Franz-Josef Strauss, leader of Bavaria’s conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) is widely interpreted here as a new West German bid to sell arms to Saudi Arabia.

Sources here said government policy with respect to arms sales to the Saudis has not changed since Bonn offered them highly sophisticated weapons several years ago. Excluded “for the time being” was the advanced Leopard-2 tank, which is manufactured in Bavaria.

The Saudis took offense and refused to buy any arms from West Germany unless restrictions on certain weapons were removed. Strauss has strongly supported arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He is a member of the boards of several Bavarianbased companies which have offered weapons systems to that country. His party is closely linked with the ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

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