Government under new pressure to scrap Saudi deal
The government is under pressure to cancel Sweden's military co-operation with Saudi Arabia, Swedish Radio News reports, with critics now speaking out inside both government parties.
The deal came about in 2005 under a previous Social Democrat government, and was extended by the centre-right Alliance government in 2010. The current Social Democrat-Green Party coalition government has until May 2015 to pull out, or the agreement will be extended automatically until 2020.
Critics say Sweden should not enter into military co-operation with dictatorships, such as Saudi Arabia.
The government has said it hopes to re-negotiate the deal. But for the Green Party that is not enough, they want to scrap the co-operation completely, and now some voices within the Social Democrats themselves say Sweden should pull out of the agreement.
"We have the principle that we should not export weapons to undemocratic countries, and there is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is an undemocratic country. Therefore if we are to stick to our principles we should terminate the agreement", says Talla Alkurdi, head of the Social Democratic Students organisation. They join the youth wing of the party and the Religious Social Democrats of Sweden in calling on the government to rethink its agreement with the Middle Eastern nation.