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Saudi Arabia a 'family business': Bildt

The Local · 4 Apr 2012, 10:29

Published: 04 Apr 2012 10:29 GMT+02:00

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“It isn’t as if the world is lacking in anti-tank missiles. Would the situation in the world be better if they had bought French manufactured ones instead?” Bildt said during a press conference on Tuesday.

According to Bildt, he was not consulted by the Swedish Agency for Non-proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter, ISP) regarding the Saudi deal.

“These are not government-level decisions and that’s how it should be. We have independent agencies. If it is sensitive and in a grey area, ISP will consult me, but they haven’t on this occasion,” he told DI.

Bildt also said that he felt the Saudi deal had been handled “correctly” and that he didn’t have anything to say on the conduct of Sweden's Defence Research Agency (Totalförsvarets forskningsinstitut, FOI), which is currently the subject of a criminal probe into secret plans by FOI to help the Saudis build a weapons plant.

As FOI's plans to provide assistance with the construction of the factory were considered to be on the border of what the agency had the right to do, a shell company, SSTI, was set up by an FOI official with cash borrowed from Sweden's military intelligence agency, MUST, in order hide Swedish involvement in project, dubbed Project Simoom.

In commenting on the ongoing scandal, which contributed to the resignation last week of defence minister Sten Tolgfors, Bildt also said he would not have stopped the deal, had he known of it.

Sweden’s relations with Saudi Arabia are good and it is important to stay on good terms with the regime, which he referred to as a “family business”, according to DI.

“I see prince Turki quite regularly,” he told the paper.

However, 2010 report from the foreign ministry describes the situation in Saudi Arabia as lacking on many counts.

According to the report, there is widespread discrimination against women, which is supported by the country’s legislation.

Story continues below…

The report also criticizes the lack of law and order, the occurrence of public executions as well as capital punishment for children.

The Local/rm


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:31 April 4, 2012 by kristianj
I think he is lying. That man is a friend of saudi arabia, and wouldf love to see them armed to fight the Jews in Israel.

So much for Sweden being neutral, just like in the WW2, help the ennemy hoping no one will notice.
12:18 April 4, 2012 by kompis
@Kristianj what is the problem if he is a friend of Saudi arabia, do not worry no one is interesting in fight the Jews in Israel or Jews any where cause war will not solve any problem but will kill more people !
13:09 April 4, 2012 by Great Scott
Sweden should not listen to the lies and incompetence of this useless buffoon. Get rid of him and his bent right wing cronies now, they are making Sweden a laughing stock.
21:03 April 4, 2012 by johan rebel
"Never, not even at the peak of the Caliphate, did the Peninsula share in the high civilisation of the Arab Empires - and it would be too much to hope that this will be different in the future. Central Arabia is today more than ever a country of ignorant fanatics"

What kind of nasty islamophobe uttered these words about Saudi Arabia?

King Feisal of Iraq, in an interview with the Jewish journalist Arthur Koestler, way back in 1929.

Plus ça change!
21:05 April 4, 2012 by sometimetoquestion
Seems everything involving the measuring of the capacity of this mans ministry has totally turned it up n its belly. Just needs some good tickling and it´ll blurt out all "truths". The time has come that dignity and integrity cannot find a mask big enough to cover its drooping yet fat a.s face. The most recent concerning the lundin oil business this man trying to wash his hands off of; but he need some turpentine. Look at the situation in Sudan yet again bashir lundins oils partner in crime dont matter on the lives on the run over 50 years since autonomy for the south Sudan being called for. What about the reporters who went down to survey among other places that region to get the facts together; they cinvinently ended up in a prison. Currently Saudia arabia may not be a country at war but sure as hell will be one soon. Thanks to our dualist policies in sweden we would have given them the chance to flex there muscles.

I personally think weapons are a waste of metal and the technology behind it is not for future generations. We can and ought to be seeking greener paradigms of conflict resolution outside the confines of the current dialectic.

Rhetoric well and good but respecting the best of life which is ahead must be the core of any sensible, dignifiable and integrity filled leader. The past is done and we cannot afford to have imbecils recreating its especially its faliures time and time again.

01:03 April 5, 2012 by sgt_doom
Of course Mr. Bildt is OK with such an arms deal, after all, the Saudis routinely behead women for the least and inoffensive reasons possible, completely at odds with Wikileaks' Julian Assange, whom they want to extradite for what reasons??????

Nothing as drastic or deadly, I am sure.....

05:49 April 5, 2012 by JahneraliMkuu
Bildt........the man that convinced the Swedish king into slave trade........centuries down n the same name appears in very controversial issues concerning Sweden......All but nobles even in history know the consequences of war....Worse off this is coming from a man who has served as Sveriges P.M!!!.....Shame on you!!!
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