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EU top arms supplier to Saudi Arabia: German weekly

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Mar 20, IRNA -- The European Union is the top arms supplier to Saudi Arabia, the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Der Spiegel quoted on Monday a report published by the European Commission.

A total of at least 3.3 billion euros worth of high-tech EU military hardware was sold to Saudi Arabia in 2010.

Heading the list of EU weapon exports to the Saudi kingdom was France with more than 2.168 billion euros, followed by Italy with 435.3 million euros, Britain with 328.8 million and Germany with 152.5 million euros.

EU arms sales included 36 grenade launchers from Finland, 270 German Leopard 2 combat tanks and British fighter jets.

Meanwhile, EU member state Sweden is playing a lead role in secretly building a missile factory in Saudi Arabia, in addition to selling more than 330 million euros worth of arms technology to Riyadh last year.

Reacting to Swedish plans to build such a missile plan in the Saudi desert, a member of the Swedish peace movement Rolf Lindahl branded it 'awful.'

We are 'legitimizing one of the most brutal regimes in the world' by making this arms deal, Lindahl was quoted as saying.

European peace, church and labor union organizations have repeatedly voiced outrage over the sale of arms to the despotic Saudi regime.

They have expressed fears that these weapons could be used to crush internal dissent in either Saudi Arabia or neighboring Bahrain where Riyadh played a key role in smashing a popular uprising in March 2011.

Weapons from Germany were also massively deployed in the Middle East and North Africa to cracking down on peaceful protests, according to a report published by the

London-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI).

German arms exports have included small firearms, ammunition and military vehicles which were used to squash demonstrations.


Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 80046331

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