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Saudis second largest Swedish arms buyers

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Saudis second largest Swedish arms buyers
10:30 CET+01:00
India and Saudi Arabia were the Swedish weapons industry's top clients in 2012, a year which nevertheless saw Sweden's arms exports drop 30 percent from the year before.

Overall, Sweden sold 9.8 billion kronor ($1.53 billion) worth of arms in 2012, according to a report from the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter, ISP), a state body meant to ensure weapons export follows ethical guidelines set by parliament.

Aside from India and Saudia Arabia, whose governments bought 1.44 million and 922 million kronor worth of Swedish arms last year respectively, other significant clients were France (899 million), Pakistan (615 million), and Thailand (600 million).

Around 56 percent of Swedish arms exports went to other countries in the EU, as well as "established partners" such as Canada, South Africa, and the United States.

Twenty other countries accounted for the rest of Swedish weapons exports.

ISP said exports were down from 2011 because Swedish military vendors had wrapped up several large-scale deals, leaving fewer big sales to bump up figures in 2012.

"Several of these systems have been delivered and therefore the value of Swedish exports has been reduced," ISP said in a statement.

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (Svenska freds, SPAS) remained critical of the fact that Sweden continues to sell weapons to dictatorships and countries that violate human rights.

It also cited revelations from last year that Swedish weapons sold to India had ended up in Burma "in violation of international weapons embargoes and Sweden's own rules on weapons exports".

"That should mean that arms exports should be frozen to the country in question," SPAS head Anna Ek said in a statement.

TT/The Local/dl

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