A Dutch company is allowed to sell some 21 million euros of military equipment to Algeria. Thales Nederland has received an export licence, Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans says in a letter to parliament.

The deal involves radar systems and so-called C3 systems (command, control and communication). This equipment will go to Algeria via China, where the Algerian navy has ordered three small frigates for fighting terrorism and the defence of the country.

The systems will be partially built into the frigates by Thales Nederland staff, after which sensitive hardware and software will ultimately be installed in Algeria. This is being done to prevent Chinese companies or the Chinese government gaining access to sensitive information.

The licence application was checked against the EU position on weapons exports, according to the minister. In the area of human rights, it is judged that it is not to be expected that the systems could contribute to violations.

Timmermans also said Algeria has a legitimate need to protect itself against terrorist action, for example by Islamic-fundamentalist organisations like Al-Qaida and Magreb Islamique. He also virtually ruled out the chances of the sensitive relations of Algeria with its neighbour Morocco to escalate in the military area

Timmermans did not himself name the Dutch company in the letter, but Thales Netherlands has confirmed that it is the company in question. This is the first time it has supplied Algeria.

Recently, Thales won an export licence for the sale of radar fire control systems to Taiwan. This deal is worth 10 million euros for the company.