Opposition to tank sale to Indonesia continues, cabinet to rethink

A large majority of MPs remain opposed to the planned sale of surplus Leopard tanks to Indonesia in a €200m deal, the NRC reports on Friday.

The cabinet will now discuss the issue again, after MPs said during a debate they are not convinced that Indonesian democracy and human rights have been ‘vastly improved’, as claimed by foreign minister Uri Rosenthal.
‘I have not heard one human rights expert say that exporting weapons is responsible,’ GroenLinks MP Arjen El-Fassed is quoted as saying.
Ministers agreed earlier to sell the tanks to the former Dutch colony and use the cash to buy unmanned aircraft. The deal would also strengthen the relationship between the two countries, ministers said earlier.
Even though a majority of MPs oppose the deal, the cabinet can still decide to go ahead, NRC correspondent Huib Modderkolk said.
‘It would be unusual but the cabinet has a lot riding on the deal going through,’ he said. ‘The defence ministry has to make cuts and can use the €200m.’