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Germany drops block to Eurofighter jet sale to Saudi Arabia

Germany drops block to Eurofighter jet sale to Saudi Arabia

by host

BERLIN — Germany’s decision allow the sale of Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets to Saudi Arabia is due to the changed situation following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel as well as Saudi Arabia’s “very constructive attitude toward Israel,” a government spokesperson said today.

The policy shift was made Sunday by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock while in Israel.

“The world, especially here in the Middle East, has become a completely different place since [October 7],” she said.

Saudi Arabia bought 72 Eurofighters in 2007 from BAE Systems for approximately £4.4 billion; those planes have been delivered, but Riyadh wants an additional 48 fighters.

However, Germany blocked further deliveries of the fighter — a joint British, German, Italian and Spanish project — due to Saudi Arabia’s role in the Yemen civil war and the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Germany’s U-turn is a win for jet-maker Airbus, which had repeatedly criticized Berlin’s refusal to sell more Eurofighters. The change of policy will also provide a boost for Britain’s BAE Systems, which has a multi-billion pound contract to assemble Typhoon components at its factory in Lancashire.

It’s also likely to reassure France, which feared Germany’s strict stance on exports could jeopardize future sales of the joint Future Combat Aircraft System, the next generation fighter jet currently under development by Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

However, it raises questions about whether Riyadh will now buy Dassault’s Rafale combat aircraft. Saudi Arabia had expressed interest in the French warplane as Berlin was dragging its feet over the Eurofighter.

Another German government spokesperson said today that no decision on a definite sale has been made, as there is no tender procedure in place.

This story has been updated.

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