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Swedish defence chief denies Swedish construction of weapons factory in Saudi ArabiaThursday, 08 March 2012
There are no Swedish constructions of a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia, according to the head of the Swedish defence, StenTolgfors. He rejects all the details of plans for such, even though the contract from 2005 was talking about the production of military equipment.
Seven years ago the Social Democratic government signed a contract with the Saudi Arabians for military co-operation.
In the major part of its two Articles it clearly stated that "Each Party shall work together in promoting the industry as a country and to develop common projects for the assembly or production of military equipment to the other party." Also it is added that the production of equipment typically would require some form of factory space.
But two days after the revelation by radio Sweden about such a proposed arms factory, Sten Tolgfors now reject the allegation that Sweden would somehow be involved in a similar project.
In a write up published in the Swedish daily, Svenska Dagbladet (Svd), he argues supported by the Minister for Trade, Ewa Björling, that the coalition parties agreed that there should be a Swedish arms factory in Saudi Arabia.
Tolgfors and Björling dismiss reports that the National Inspectorate of Strategic Products (ISP) had given the company SstI, or any other operator, permission to build a weapons factory in Saudi Arabia. According to the radio Sweden, SstI had obtained a permit from the ISP in July 2009 to trade in military equipment.
Dick Sträng, who through the dummy company SstI, support by the FOI, coordinated the construction of the Saudi plant since it was considered too sensitive for the authority to do so, is highly critical of how the Defense Department handled the issue:
"My opinion is that the Defense Department is responsible for all the mess that has been shown in these reports. FOI was just trying to solve the problems we were subjected to, "he said.
According to Sträng, who left the FOI, the Defense Department changed course several times and FOI pressed to find solutions to fulfil the agreement with the Saudis. A temporary solution was for the means time to allow a front company to be managing the project, while FOI staff acted as consultants.
Tolgfors and Ewa Björling claims that FOI has received no government mandate to act that way and has now asked the FOI to disclose their relationships to the dummy company.
Tolgfors action will most likely be reviewed by the Swedish parliamentary constitutional committee (KU).
KU's chairman, Peter Eriksson of the Green party, said that except it is an urgent matter the committee is not under pressure to review this until next year.
By Scancomark.se Team
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