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Swedish Weapons in FARC Hands

Published måndag 27 juli 2009 kl 10.34
Colombian soldiers in a FARC camp in July 2009.

Updated 20:33

Since Swedish-manufactured anti-tank weapons, sold to Venezuela, were found among FARC guerrillas in Colombia, - Sweden is unlikely to resume arms exports to the South American country.

General Director Jan-Erik Lövgren of the Swedish Inspectorate of Strategic Products, the authority responsible for checking weapon exports, says that no weapons have been exported to Venezuela since 2006. The freeze, he says, could very well continue.

"We will weigh in this new information in any future decision to continue exports. We would then most likely say no," he said earlier on Monday.

 The weapons were found in 2008 when the Colombian army took a guerrilla stronghold. The Colombian authorities contacted the manufacturer Saab Bofors Dynamics, in Sweden, to trace the weapons. At Bofors they could identify the weapons as belonging to a shipment delivered to Venezuela in the 1980s.

 The case was handed over to Venezuelan authorities three months ago, but Colombia is still waiting for an answer on how the weapons ended up among the guerrillas.

According to Swedish Radio News, the Swedish government is very critical of the development. "Sweden is now working together with Colombia to investigate this further," said Jens Eriksson, who is Minister for Trade Ewa Björling's press secretary.

 Jan -Erik Lövgren told Swedish news agency TT  later on Monday afternoon that the Foreign Ministry is currently in contact with both Colombia and Venezuela to try to find out how this could happen. Until the matter is sorted out - no weapons export will be allowed to the country.

 "When we get an answer we'll see how we take it from there, but for the time being we are putting our foot down and saying no," he said to  TT.


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