Sweden ends arms deal with Saudi Arabia after human rights standoff

Margot Wallstroem.(Reuters / Valentin Flauraud )

Margot Wallstroem.(Reuters / Valentin Flauraud )

Sweden will cancel its arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has confirmed. The decision comes after the ultraconservative kingdom blocked the Swedish foreign minister’s speech on human rights at an Arab League meeting.

“It is true that it will be ended. The Minister of Defense will talk more about this later tonight,” Lofven told reporters during an official visit to Kiev.

The controversial trade agreement, which included the export of military arms to Saudi Arabia – Sweden’s fourth biggest export market for arms outside the EU – was up for renewal this year.

Earlier on Tuesday, Arab foreign ministers defended Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and criticized Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom’s comments in which she accused the kingdom of blocking her speech at the Arab League meeting in Cairo. Wallstrom had been invited to the meeting as a guest of honor, as a nod to her country’s recognition of Palestine last autumn.


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