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Belgium: 'Germany is not blocking Leopard tanks export' - EU's Borrell03:11

Belgium: 'Germany is not blocking Leopard tanks export' - EU's Borrell

Belgium, Brussels
January 23, 2023 at 22:43 GMT +00:00 · Published

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell claimed that Germany was not blocking the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, during a press briefing in Brussels on Monday.

"During the [Foreign Affairs] Council, we discussed all this and it's obvious - the [German] Foreign Minister had already said this before,"he stated. "That Germany does not block [the export], that [if] other countries that want to do so, [they] can export its Leopard tanks. Therefore, Germany is not blocking Leopard tanks export."

Berlin has avoided taking a decision on sending the tanks, or allowing other countries to do so, despite crunch talks with allies in the Ukraine Defence Contact Group on Friday.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Berlin would not 'stand in the way' of Poland sending its own supply.

However, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit appeared to backtrack the following day, merely saying there were 'well-rehearsed procedures’ to deal with such requests.

Borrell also spoke of the EU plan for the 'normalisation of relations' between Kosovo and Serbia.

"We stress that advancing this proposal would bring considerable benefit for both sides and I consider it is the only way to break the vicious cycle of the crisis on the ground and reduce the risk of further escalation," he said.

Media reports suggest the 10-point plan would lead to international acceptance for the region, while President Aleksandr Vucic claimed the deal meant his country could be blocked from EU membership and investments if it did not co-operate.

Borrell also referenced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Africa, saying that "the fact that Russia also deploys its diplomacy is nothing new."

Belgium: 'Germany is not blocking Leopard tanks export' - EU's Borrell03:11
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EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell claimed that Germany was not blocking the delivery of Leopard 2 tanks to Kiev, during a press briefing in Brussels on Monday.

"During the [Foreign Affairs] Council, we discussed all this and it's obvious - the [German] Foreign Minister had already said this before,"he stated. "That Germany does not block [the export], that [if] other countries that want to do so, [they] can export its Leopard tanks. Therefore, Germany is not blocking Leopard tanks export."

Berlin has avoided taking a decision on sending the tanks, or allowing other countries to do so, despite crunch talks with allies in the Ukraine Defence Contact Group on Friday.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Berlin would not 'stand in the way' of Poland sending its own supply.

However, German government spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit appeared to backtrack the following day, merely saying there were 'well-rehearsed procedures’ to deal with such requests.

Borrell also spoke of the EU plan for the 'normalisation of relations' between Kosovo and Serbia.

"We stress that advancing this proposal would bring considerable benefit for both sides and I consider it is the only way to break the vicious cycle of the crisis on the ground and reduce the risk of further escalation," he said.

Media reports suggest the 10-point plan would lead to international acceptance for the region, while President Aleksandr Vucic claimed the deal meant his country could be blocked from EU membership and investments if it did not co-operate.

Borrell also referenced Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s visit to Africa, saying that "the fact that Russia also deploys its diplomacy is nothing new."