BONN (Jan. 23)
A group of West German banks will finance the purchase of advanced military aircraft by Jordan, a deal the government was recently forced to abandon by public pressure.
The banks, led by the Munich-based Bayerische Landesbank, which is owned by the federal state of Bavaria, will lend Jordan $200 million to buy eight Tornado jets, one of the world’s most sophisticated fighter-bombers.
Government sources confirmed the loan and said it was a normal commercial transaction.
An outcry arose three months ago when it was revealed that the Bonn government intended to finance the purchase through the Kreditanstalt fur Wideraufbau, a state-owned bank.
The public scandal caused the government to withdraw the state loan.
Now, however, in face of new protests from friends of Israel and others, the authorities say they are powerless to interfere with the new loan.
The Tornado is produced jointly by Britain, West Germany and Italy.
Bavaria is the site of German plants which manufacture more than 40 percent of the Tornado parts. It is home to other factories that sell coproduced weapons systems to Arab countries through offices in Paris, London and other cities.
According to Bonn, all weapons systems produced with other countries can be marketed by any one of them. The Tornado is sold primarily by Britain.
But many observers believe the federal government was heavily involved in efforts to secure financing.
According to Der Spiegel, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of Britain protested vehemently to Bonn when it backed off from the original state loan for the Tornados.
Her protest prompted the government to arrange an alternative loan through the Bavarian bank, Der Spiegel claimed. According to reports, the prime minister of Bavaria, Max Streibl, personally negotiated the deal.