Minister knew of Saudi arms factory: report

Defense Minister Sten Tolgfors admitted on Friday that he was informed two years ago about plans to build an arms factory in Saudi Arabia, despite denying these claims throughout the week.

Minister knew of Saudi arms factory: report

The Local reported during the week about the claims that first broke via Sveriges Radio (SR) in which secret documents showed that the Swedish Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut, FOI) was planning to finance an arms factory, named “project Simoom”.

According to SvD, documents show that Simoon deals with the “renovation and modification of anti-tank weapons”.

Tolgfors staunchly denied these allegations, claiming he had only heard of the plans and of the subsequent dummy company, SSTI, which was to fund the factory, this week.

However, Tolgfors on Friday conceded through his press secretary to Svenska Dagbladet newspaper (SvD) that he had indeed heard of these plans and SSTI as early as two years ago.

The confession was sparked by an email to SvD from Secretary of State Håkan Jevrell.

“I received information about SSTI’s state of affairs when the FOI’s general director Jan-Olof Lind informed me about it at the beginning of 2010,” wrote Jevrell in the email.

Jevrell was Tolgfors’s closest advisor, and claims to have passed on this information to him at the time.

On Thurday evening, this was confirmed by the defense ministry’s press secretary, Mikael Östlund.

“If the Secretary of State made such a statement, it is clear that he is to give it to the defense minister,” he told SvD.

When pushed to reveal whether Tolgfors had revealed the information to his government colleagues, Östlund claimed that this was unknown.

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Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.