German Defence Minister Peter Struck said his country could not supply Fuchs armoured troop carriers to Israel as all its vehicles were needed for Bundeswehr (German army) use.
Some of the ATCs were deployed on international missions and the Bundeswehr could not do without them, the minister told Germany's first television channel ARD.
A German defence ministry spokesman had said on Friday it would examine a request from Tel Aviv for the Fuchs troop carriers after Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder promised Wednesday that Germany would do all it could to help safeguard Israel's security as officials met to review Israeli requests for military hardware.
On the other hand, Struck confirmed that Germany would send Israel two batteries of Patriot anti-missile systems which the Israeli army had also requested.
Reacting to Struck's remarks, Israeli Ambassador Shimon Stein implied that Israel would not ask for Fuchs troop carriers if there were none available. He told ARD: "If it's like that, that means the matter is settled for the German government. So we will not ask for Fuchs if there aren't any."
Fuchs was originally developed in the 1960s to meet German Army requirements. Since the mid-1980s production has been directed for the export market, mainly for specialised roles such as NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) reconnaissance. During the 1990-91 Gulf War, the German producer of the Fuchs supplied NBC reconnaissance vehicles to Israel, the UK and the USA. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )