Sweden denies aid to S Arabia
STOCKHOLM - ReutersSweden’s center-right government said March 7 it would not allow any state authorities to help Saudi Arabia build an advanced weapons factory as it sought to quell a public outcry after reports a Swedish defense agency was doing so.
The statement came after Swedish radio reported March 6 it had documents showing the defense agency FOI, which is under the Defense Ministry, had held talks with Saudi Arabia to help it construct a plant that would make anti-tank missiles. Swedish Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors and Trade Minister Ewa Bjorling said in a joint article published on daily Svenska Dagbladet’s website that no such factory was under construction and that FOI was not authorized to help if such plans were made. “No such plant is under construction,” the ministers said. “The governing parties are also in agreement that no Swedish weapons factory in Saudi Arabia will be built and intend to take necessary steps if any Swedish authorities were set to carry out such a thing.”
Arms sales to Saudi Arabia have already caused criticism but March 6’s report sparked an outcry in the Nordic country which prides itself on standing up for human rights.