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Germany, France to spend €200 million on next-gen main battle tank


Germany and France plan to spend hundreds of millions of euros on the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) program in 2021 to develop a new generation of combat vehicles.

The Forces Operations Blog has reported that France and Germany are looking to spend €200 million for the benefit of the MGCS program in 2021. These funds will allow the three prime contractors, Nexter on the French side and KMW and Rheinmetall on the German side, to start the phase of the building demonstrators of future combat vehicles.

Between 2021 and 2025, the first Main Technological Demonstrators (MTD) will translate into technological solutions the combined functions in the multiplatform system. The design of a prototype by 2028 will follow and, assuming the schedule does not slip in the meantime, the first deliveries around 2035.

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MGCS is first and foremost a team of vehicles similar to the Russian Armata family of combat vehicles. This team may involve manned and unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) as well as unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

As part of MGCS will develop the next-generation main battle tank to replace Leopard-2 and Leclerc in near future.

German Leopard-2 and French Leclerc MBTs were designed and developed in the 1970s and 80s and have been significantly upgraded since then. In 2012, France and Germany decided to launch a joint initiative that may lead to a joint program for designing and developing a new Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) in order to replace their tanks.

The general program of European next-generation combat vehicle is estimated at €1.5 billion.



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UK, France and Germany plan Russia sanctions over Navalny poisoning



Navalny, a fierce critic of the Kremlin, became gravely ill on a flight from the Siberian city of Tomsk to Moscow on August 20. He was treated at the Charité Hospital in Berlin and was discharged in late September.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed Tuesday that blood and urine samples taken from Navalny showed the presence of Novichok, a Soviet-era group of nerve agents. A Novichok agent was also used in a March 2018 attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the English city of Salisbury.

The foreign ministers of France and Germany released a joint statement Wednesday saying they were putting forward a proposal to European partners that target “individuals deemed responsible for this crime and breach of international norms,” including Russian officials and entities involved in the country’s Novichok chemical weapon program.

“A murder attempt has been made on Russian soil, against a Russian opposition figure, using a military-grade nerve agent developed by Russia,” the statement said.

“We believe that there is no credible explanation for the poisoning of Mr Navalny other than Russian involvement and responsibility,” the pair said in a statement.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Britain would work with its international partners to take such sanctions forward. “The UK stands side by side with our German and French partners in our response to the abhorrent poisoning of Alexey Navalny,” he said in a statement Wednesday evening.

“Despite having a clear case to answer, the Russian authorities continue to make no credible attempt to investigate this attack. There is no plausible explanation for Mr Navalny’s poisoning other than Russian involvement and responsibility for this appalling attack.”

The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement in Navalny’s poisoning, and offered to cooperate with Germany in an investigation into the matter, according to state news agency TASS.

TASS previously reported that Russia had “eliminated” all warfare agents, including Novichok, citing Sergei Naryshkin, the Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service. “[Warfare agents] were eliminated in accordance with OPCW procedures and rules which was properly documented. Any speculation Russia still produces or keeps in stock the old reserves of chemical warfare agents are disinformation, of course,” Naryshkin reportedly said.

Asked Tuesday about the OPCW findings, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists, “we do not have the information yet.”

Journalists Gaëlle Fournier in Paris and Nadine Schmidt in Berlin contributed to this report.



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Leaders of UK, France, Germany, Turkey discuss Syria



Ahead of the two-day NATO summit in London, four countries discussed their efforts to end the conflict in Syria.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the prime ministerial residence in London.

According to a statement from the British Prime Minister’s office, the leaders agreed that attacks against Syrian civilians, including in the rebel-held area of Idlib, must end.

The leaders vowed to work for creating conditions for safe return of refugees, and agreed the fight against terrorism in all its forms must continue. They also discussed Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring targeting the terrorist YPG/PKK in northern Syria. Merkel described the meeting as “good and useful”.

Erdogan also described the meeting as good, and added that developments regarding the operation “will be evaluated”.

In October, Turkey launched Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria, in order to secure Turkey’s borders and aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees. Later, the operation was paused to allow the withdrawal of the terrorists from the planned Syria safe zone, but they, instead, continued attacking soldiers and civilians.



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Germany news: Angela Merkel leadership on brink as coalition cracks | World | News


Norbert Walter-Borjans and Saskia Esken’s appointment has left the Berlin government in peril because of a threat to pull their support unless a series of demands for significant policy concessions can be met. They are seeking to renegotiate fresh terms for the alliance that was formed after the September 2017 federal elections. The SPD have made raising public investments, scrapping temporary job contracts a red line if Mrs Merkel wants to prolong her fragile coalition.

They also want to increase the minimum wage for €9 an hour to €12, as well as force Germany to adopt a more radical approach on the so-called “climate emergency”.

Mr Walter-Borjans said: “If the coalition partner then takes an obstructive approach for these new tasks then you have to make a decision that it cannot continue.”

His and Ms Esken’s election as SPD co-leaders will leave Germany facing months of political uncertainty with the collapse of the coalition looking a growing likelihood.

They narrowly secured victory in Saturday’s leadership ballot with 53 percent of the vote, beating finance minister Olaf Scholz and Klara Geywitz by eight points.

The vote signifies a lurch to the left for the SPD after a 54 percent turnout of the party’s 425,000 members.

Many in the party believe governing under Mrs Merkel’s grand coalition is to blame for poor performances in recent regional and European elections.

It once again raises questions whether Mrs Merkel will face an earlier exit from frontline politics than she intended after announcing she would not run for another term in office.

The SPD’s new coalitions demands are likely to spark a bitter row with the CDU having made clear it is unlikely to accept such negotiations.

CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said: “The new SPD leadership must decide whether they want to stay in this coalition or not.

“We have a coalition and this coalition has a coalition agreement. That is the basis on which we are working. And it applies for the whole legislative period. We are not a therapy facility for the respective coalition, government parties.”

Paul Ziemiak, the CDU’s general secretary, added: “Our aim is to govern Germany well, and the foundations for this are in our coalition agreement.

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Malu Dreyer said: “I think we should calm down a bit.

“We should take note that the party has elected new leadership – that is the point – and it will set out its priorities on the question of how we proceed with the grand coalition, but we will discuss that in a few days at the party conference.”

The SPD conference, which meets on December 6, will ask delegates to vote to approve the new leadership and on a yet-to-be published motion on the coalition.



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