Arens Meets Kohl on Gulf Crisis; Agreement on Submarines Likely

Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens, who met for more than two hours here Monday evening, have agreed that the crisis in the Persian Gulf should best be resolved by political means.

The two also discussed Israel’s security in light of the Gulf crisis.

Arens held a two-hour meeting Sunday evening with his West German counterpart, Gerhard Stoltenberg.

The two discussed the general situation but specifically the issue of submarines that West Germany has said it will supply to Israel.

The Israeli military establishment is divided over whether to go through with the costly deal, which would require scrapping other defense programs.

The deal involves the construction of two modern Dolphin-class submarines tentatively ordered from a West German shipyard. A decision on the purchase was postponed last month.

The order for the undersea craft, valued at $580 million, was due by this month. If not submitted, Israel will have to pay a very heavy penalty to the German shipyard, under the terms of the original letter of intent.

According to reports in Israel, Jerusalem is seeking more favorable financial conditions from Germany, which is eager to build the vessels in order to head off a crisis in the shipyards of Kiel, where the craft would be built.

A West German government spokesman would not confirm or deny speculation that the submarine deal had been discussed in the meeting between Arens and Kohl.

But well-informed sources indicated the deal is likely to go through.

West Germany is highly interested in the deal because it would guarantee employment for hundreds of workers for a long period of time.

West Germany also hosted on Monday Jordan’s King Hussein, who was touring Western European nations to discuss a means to resolving the crisis.

The king received assurances that Bonn will make $12.6 million available to help Jordan cope with the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Kuwait and Iraq.

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