Qatar has invited a German company to tender for the supply of 200 of the world's most powerful battle tanks, a move that could trigger a storm in Germany, Der Spiegel reported Sunday.
Senior politician Volker Beck, from the opposition Green party, said he opposed any sale of tanks to Qatar as the Gulf state did not have acceptable human rights standards, dpa reported.
Qatar was believed to be interested in the A7 model of the Leopard 2 tank, which is enhanced for urban combat with features to shove aside barricades, turn tight corners and detect and destroy snipers. It has powerful air conditioning to suit fighting in hot deserts.
Qatar has assisted rebels in Syria and also assisted in the overthrow last year of Libyan strongman Moamer Gaddafi.
According to Spiegel, a delegation from the manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, visited Qatar several weeks ago to discuss an offer of Leopard 2 tanks.
If a deal were agreed, it would be likely to have a value of nearly 2 billion euros (2.4 billion dollars).
German arms exports outside the NATO region require a clearance from the Federal Security Council, a secretive panel of Chancellor Angela Merkel and close aides.
Asked for confirmation of the Spiegel report, an Economics Ministry spokeswoman said no comment was available as a matter of principle on any matter where the Federal Security Council was concerned.
Spiegel said a tender of tanks to Qatar had not yet been discussed in the Federal Security Council.