December 2, 2016 / 8:56 PM / 3 years ago

Norway to decide soon on supplier of new submarines - minister

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (Reuters) - Norway is likely to make a final decision in coming weeks on whether to buy French or German submarines for its military, Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said in an interview.

Norway in April narrowed its choices for an order of four submarines to France’s naval contractor Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) or Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

A final decision on a supplier for the new submarines would pave the way for the government to submit a proposal to the Norwegian Parliament for its approval sometime in the spring.

“We are going to, I hope in the not too distant future, make a final decision on buying submarines,” Soereide told Reuters in an interview ahead of the annual Reagan National Defense Forum in California. “Those will be German or French.”

She said a decision was expected in coming weeks, or possibly the beginning of next year, depending on whether all questions had been answered by the two potential suppliers.

The submarine procurement process may be complicated by political issues in Norway, where the current minority right-wing government may have to step down if it fails to win support from either the Christian Democrats or the Liberal Party for a new spending plan.

A change in government could delay the submarine decision.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal and Mike Stone; Editing by Andrew Hay

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