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Criticism of Saudi Military Cooperation

Published tisdag 15 november 2005 kl 18.30

A senior Saudi government official visited Stockholm Tuesday to discuss military cooperation with Sweden.

Saudi Deputy Defence Minister Prince Khalid Bin Sultan and Swedish Defence Minister Leni Bjorklund signed a memorandumof understanding about future military cooperation.

Although the Saudi minister insisted that he was not in Sweden to shop, media is speculating that Saudi Arabia wants to buy an airborne radar system developed by Swedish companies.

The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society has criticized the visit. In a statement, the organization’s chairwoman, Frida Blom, called Saudi Arabia ”one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships” andsaid it was a ”scandal” to invite high representativesfrom Saudi Arabia to discuss weapons sales.

Speaking to reporters, Bjorklund acknowledged that ”the countries have differentviewpoints” on questions regarding the democratization ofSaudi Arabia, but added that Sweden and Saudi Arabia havequite a long period of cooperation.

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