Germany approved 6.2 billion euros worth of arms exports in 2017, down 9 percent from 2016

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany approved arms exports worth 6.24 billion euros (£5.48 billion) last year, down 9 percent from 2016, according to a government report rubber-stamped by the cabinet on Wednesday.

However, significant orders including a warship for Algeria and a submarine for Egypt boosted for sales to non-NATO and non-EU countries by 100 million euros to 3.795 billion euros.

Germany is one of the world's five biggest arms exporters, according to the SIPRI research group, but weapons sales are a sensitive issue there due to the country's World War Two history.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition agreed in February to limit arms sales further, and to work on harmonising export controls in the European Union.

The report's figures were line with preliminary data released in January.

German export approvals for small arms were steady at around 47.8 million euros, with France the top buyer.

Germany also became the first EU member to carry out post-shipment controls of its arms exports in 2017, the report said.

(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Andrea Shalal and David Stamp; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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