Friday, November 16, 2007

Government puts arms exports to Pakistan on hold

from swissinfo (Switzerland)

For the third time in less than a year the government had been asked to change its decision to authorise the Swiss firm Oerlikon Contraves to sell the Pakistani army 21 Skyguard anti-aircraft defence batteries valued at SFr136 million ($120 million). Six have already been delivered. Swiss law bans the sale of war materiel to crisis regions. Neither Oerlikon Contraves, nor its German parent company Rheinmetall would comment on the government decision Wednesday ... Andreas Gross, a parliamentarian from the centre-left Social Democratic Party and founder of the Group for a Switzerland without an Army, says the current law provides for avoiding the sale of arms to crisis regions as long as one respects the spirit and not the letter of the law. This however is not always the case, admitted leftwing figures who recently criticised the government for selling arms not only to Pakistan but also to Saudi Arabia.

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