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Gripen vote was a 'no': Swiss defence minister

Published tisdag 5 mars 2013 kl 18.43
Photo: Scanpix. Montage: Sveriges Radio

Switzerland voted yes to buying Sweden's Gripen warplanes in a parliamentary vote today but in practice the vote was a 'no' according the country's defence minister.

“Right now this means ‘no’," defence minister Ueli Maurer told the Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung, adding that he believed a poltical agreement would come later.

The Swiss Council of States voted in favour of spending more than SEK 21 billion to buy 22 planes from Sweden, but the majority was not large enough to authorise any financing of the deal.

Sweden's defence minister, Karin Enström, was more upbeat about the vote than her Swiss counterpart.

"This is a positive decision from Switzerland," she told news agency TT. "I interpret this as a 'yes' to Gripen. We'll just have to come back to the financing later."

The issue will be considered by Switzerland's second chamber, the National Council, in June.

The Swedish airforce plans to buy 60 upgraded Gripen jets at a cost of SEK 90 billion.

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