BERLIN — Germany has allowed the sale of 200 Leopard tanks to Saudi Arabia after decades of blocking heavy weapons sales to the kingdom, the Der Spiegel said Saturday.
The federal security council approved the sale last week, the weekly news magazine said without citing sources.
The Saudis want to buy 200 Leopard 2A7+ tanks in an order potentially worth billions of euros to companies Kraus-Maffei and Rheinmetall, Der Spiegel said.
The kingdom was in talks with the Spanish subsidiary of General Dynamics about buying their version of the Leopard tank, but the major portion of the order will land with the Germans, the magazine said.
Since the 1980's, Germany has blocked the sale of Leopard 2 tanks to Saudi Arabia, afraid the equipment would be used against Israel.
The Saudis are also in talks with US companies for 60 billion dollars worth (41 billion euros) of defence equipment that would become the largest US contract ever.
The order is to include 84 new F-15 fighter jets and 178 combat helicopters.