Åkesson: Swedish arms exports protect our neutrality
The Sweden Democrat party does not want to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
Talking to Swedish Radio News, party leader Jimmie Åkesson says that it is important to keep to the 2005 trade agreement with Saudi Arabia, and that he cannot say whether his party will be for or against renewing the agreement when it expires.
The Sweden Democrats are on the far-right of the Swedish political spectrum. In the past they have been very critical of the Saudi Arabian regime, opposing a Saudi-funded mosque in Gothenburg. Back then one of the Sweden Democrat leaders called Saudi Arabia a "rotted and undemocratic country", where torture was an everyday event.
Last year Sweden sold arms to Saudi Arabia worth 2.9 billion Swedish kronor (over US$ 427 million).
Åkesson says that Sweden's defence industry, and defence exports, are morally justified, since they support Sweden's ability to have a military that is not dependent on being part of an international alliance.