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Sweden to end defense agreement with Saudi Arabia

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden said on Tuesday it will cancel a defense agreement with Saudi Arabia worth billions of crowns to its industry after criticism of Riyadh's human rights record sparked a diplomatic row.

Sweden's Social Democrat-led government, which came to power in October last year, has focused its foreign policy on human rights. But its more vocal stance has put it at odds with industry -- Sweden is the world's 12th biggest arms exporter -- and the coalition government itself has been divided on whether to renew the Saudi Arabia deal.

The decision on the Saudi agreement had been made some time ago," the newspaper Dagens Nyheter quoted Prime Minister Stefan Lofven as saying in the Ukrainian capital Kiev. "What has happened in recent days hasn't been decisive."

On Monday, Saudi Arabia blocked Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom from giving a speech to the League of Arab States in Cairo. A spokesman for Wallstrom said the decision stemmed from Sweden's criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

The Arab League later agreed a resolution denouncing remarks by Wallstrom to the Swedish parliament, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

In February, Wallstrom told parliament Saudi Arabia violated women's rights and criticized the flogging of human rights activist and blogger Raif Badawi. She also called Saudi Arabia a "dictatorship."

The canceled agreement, which includes military systems, training and transfers of technology, netted 4.8 billion crowns ($561 million) in 2011-2014.

Sebastian Carlsson, press officer at Saab said other regulation controlled the company's exports, not the agreement.

"Saudi Arabia is a very important market for us and a good customer," he said. "How Sweden handles this can affect us."

Saab does not publish any data on how much it sells to Saudi Arabia or any other country outside Sweden.

The deal was first signed in 2005 by a previous Social Democratic government and was renewed by a center-right government in 2010.

The Green Party, junior partner in the current coalition, had called for the accord to be scrapped.

But Swedish industry leaders had lobbied hard for an extension, arguing Sweden's reputation as a trade partner was on the line.

Cancellation could affect not only defense firms but companies outside the military sector, 31 business leaders said in an open letter published on Friday in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. They included fashion retailer H&M's main owner, Stefan Persson, and Investor Chairman Jacob Wallenberg.

Ulf Bjereld, a professor of political science at Gothenburg University, said the cancellation of the deal could lead to Sweden being isolated in world politics.

"But it can also strengthen Sweden's role in that we treat everyone equally and we stand up for human rights," he said.

(Reporting by Daniel Dickson and Johan Sennero; Writing by Daniel Dickson and Simon Johnson; Editing by Kevin Liffey, Larry King)
 

ResurgentIran

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At the end of the day Swedish exports to Saudi Arabia constitutes less than 1 % (and less than half of that 1 % are defence-related products) of Sweden's total export, so the cancel of this defence pact will not affect anything.

@SvenSvensonov
 

al-Hasani

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At the end of the day Swedish exports to Saudi Arabia constitutes less than 1 % (and less than half of that 1 % are defence-related products) of Sweden's total export, so the cancel of this defence pact will not affect anything.

@SvenSvensonov
Nor will it affect KSA.

$561 million is basically nothing for KSA. I mean it's a laughable number for KSA.

Besides KSA already got the most important piece from that agreement. The AWACS (Saab 2000).



عاجل : السويد تنهي عقود سلاح مع السعودية بعد منع الوزيرة السويدية | Defense Arab المنتدى العربي للدفاع والتسليح

Sweden has more to loose than KSA.

Anyway let us see if they will end their exports to other non-democratic states or states with a questionable human rights record.

Just for fun;





Anyway Sweden can do what they want to do. They are just risking a lot with such behavior from a business point of view. SAAB themselves have admitted this and other sectors in Sweden.

Lastly I hope that more countries will follow suit just so the process of developing a potent indigenous military sector will happen quicker.
 

ResurgentIran

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Nor will it affect KSA.

$561 million is basically nothing for KSA. I mean it's a laughable number for KSA.

Besides KSA already got the most important piece from that agreement. The AWACS (Saab 2000).



عاجل : السويد تنهي عقود سلاح مع السعودية بعد منع الوزيرة السويدية | Defense Arab المنتدى العربي للدفاع والتسليح

Sweden has more to loose than KSA.

Anyway let us see if they will end their exports to other non-democratic states or states with a questionable human rights record.

Just for fun;



My friend, that number is just as laughable for Sweden.
Sweden has a vibrant and very dynamic economy with hundreds of export partners and as I said earlier, the exports to Saudi Arabia constitutes less than 1 % of its total exports, and half of that are defense products.
That money is just a drop in the ocean.

Ie it doesnt affect Sweden the slightest, and I agree Saudi Arabia is not particularly affected by it either.
Frankly there have been many opposition in the Swedish parliamentary who opposed having defence agreemens with KSA.
And the behavior of KSA/AL towards the foreign minister is considered more serious than the canceling of the defense agreement.
 
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al-Hasani

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My friend, Sweden's GDP per capita is 40-50.000 dollars.
It has a vibrant and very dynamic economy with hundreds of export partners and as I said earlier, the exports to Saudi Arabia constitutes less than 1 % of its total exports, and half of that are defense products.
That money is just a drop in the ocean.

Ie it doesnt affect Sweden the slightest, and I agree Saudi Arabia is not particularly affected by it either.
Frankly there have been many opposition in the Swedish parliamentary who opposed having defence agreemens with KSA.
I am not saying that Sweden will be affected by this at all. It's basically a bigger version of Denmark. A socialist welfare state located far in the north of Europe away from all trouble and tensions. 10 million people only. Highly developed with a significant military sector compared to its size. Something they have been good at for the past 80 years.

The problem with Sweden is that they especially (they even criticize this here in Denmark) are trying to take the moral high ground on everything that moves and breathes.

In the end neither country will be affected but such moves can hinder bilateral ties in other sectors.

I don't really bother googling for too long (the weather for once is fantastic here) but do you know which countries that Sweden are exporting their military hardware to? I want to see if they are consistent or not on this front.
 

ResurgentIran

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I am not saying that Sweden will be affected by this at all. It's basically a bigger version of Denmark. A socialist welfare state located far in the north of Europe away from all trouble and tensions. 10 million people only. Highly developed with a significant military sector compared to its size. Something they have been good at for the past 80 years.

The problem with Sweden is that they especially (they even criticize this here in Denmark) are trying to take the moral high ground on everything that moves and breathes.

In the end neither country will be affected but such moves can hinder bilateral ties in other sectors.

I don't really bother googling for too long (the weather for once is fantastic here) but do you know which countries that Sweden are exporting their military hardware to? I want to see if they are consistent or not on this front.
I think the cancelling of the defense contract had more to do with KSA/AL behavior toward the Swedish foreign minister than the nature of the Saudi government.
 

al-Hasani

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@al-Hasani its time KSA should move away from western arms market ...look at china
KSA already cooperates closely with China which is the country's biggest trade partner. It's just that Western weapons are superior. KSA is located in the middle of the ME. The most unstable region in the world currently. Sandwiched between Africa, Europe and the remaining Asia.

As I wrote earlier then I hope that more countries will follow suit just so the process of developing a potent indigenous military sector will happen quicker.

If 10 million big Sweden can develop all this military hardware then so can KSA with the right investments, dedication and work. After all Sweden did not develop anything that was not developed already on this front.

Neither money or manpower is the problem. The right expertise and political will is.

I think the cancelling of the defense contract had more to do with KSA/AL behavior toward the Swedish foreign minister than the nature of the Saudi government.
I don't really know. Apparently KSA blocked her from speaking at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo. IMO silly if truth.:lol:

Anyway do you have a list of the main import countries of Swedish military hardware? It would be interesting to see.
 
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ResurgentIran

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@al-Hasani

Största köparna: De fem största mottagarna av krigsmateriel från Sverige under 2014 var i ordning USA, Norge, Thailand, Storbritannien och Indien. Dessa fem länder står tillsammans för 51 procent av den totala krigsmaterielexporten. Andra stora mottagare de senaste åren är Saudiarabien, Pakistan, Frankrike och Sydafrika.

Snabba fakta om vapenexporten | Svenska Freds- och Skiljedomsföreningen
 

al-Hasani

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@ResurgentIran

To tell you honestly then Saab is one of my favorite defense companies. They are very skilled. I liked their Saab cars too that they once produced. I remember having a toy Saab car that I especially liked, lol.

It's really interesting that a country like Sweden is so vastly superior to her Scandinavian neighbors in terms of military hardware.

I can't think of a single Danish or Norwegian military company in comparison.
 

ResurgentIran

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Swedish media confirms that Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Stockholm. lol

This is getting ridiculous. :D

@ResurgentIran

To tell you honestly then Saab is one of my favorite defense companies. They are very skilled. I liked their Saab cars too that they once produced. I remember having a toy Saab car that I especially liked, lol.

It's really interesting that a country like Sweden is so vastly superior to her Scandinavian neighbors in terms of military hardware.

I can't think of a single Danish or Norwegian military company in comparison.
Sweden is a country that is really punching above its weight!
Not just military but also other industry (agriculture etc) and technology-wise.
 

al-Hasani

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Swedish media confirms that Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Stockholm. lol

This is getting ridiculous. :D



Sweden is a country that is really punching above its weight!
Not just military but also other industry (agriculture etc) and technology-wise.
I am sure that this could have been solved in a better manner but what do I know?

Yes, Scandinavia has really experienced a Japan like revival in the past 150 years on all fronts. From being a isolated, rather unimportant part of Europe, dominated by Vikings (once, lol) and peasants, poverty etc. they are now leading examples on many fronts. I can only have respect for that. If just the ME had some of those virtues.

Actually Denmark is also an exceptional country. Leading on many fronts (design, pharmaceutics, health care, sustainable energy, chemistry and engineering (the last two I know for a fact for obvious reasons) etc.)

Just look at how many well-known international companies you got that originate from Sweden and Denmark.

List of companies of Denmark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of companies of Sweden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

15 million people. 15 million people and they put the entire ME to shame, lol.
 
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ResurgentIran

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I am sure that this could have been solved in a better manner but what do I know?

Yes, Scandinavia has really experienced a Japan like revival in the past 150 years on all fronts. From being a isolated, rather unimportant part of Europe, dominated by Vikings (once, lol) and peasants, poverty etc. they are now leading examples on many fronts. I can only have respect for that. If just the ME had some of those virtues.

Actually Denmark is also an exceptional country. Leading on many fronts (design, pharmaceutics, health care, sustainable energy, chemistry and engineering (the last two I know for a fact for obvious reasons) etc.)

Just look at how many well-known international companies you got that originate from Sweden and Denmark.

List of companies of Denmark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

List of companies of Sweden - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

15 million people. 15 million people and they put the entire ME to shame, lol.
To be fair many Swedes (judging from forums) are saying that this Swedish government is incompetent Daffy Duck government and that they have handled this Saudi business like an amateur. :lol:
I do agree that this government in Sweden is embarassing.

I dont know what people was thinking voting Fredrik Reinfeldt out of power. This new Swedish prime minister is an Olof Palme wannabe. He tries so hard to be like the late prime minister, but makes himself look more like an idiot in the process.
 

al-Hasani

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To be fair many Swedes (judging from forums) are saying that this Swedish government is incompetent Daffy Duck government and that they have handled this Saudi business like an amateur. :lol:
I do agree that this government in Sweden is embarassing.

I dont know what people was thinking voting Fredrik Reinfeldt out of power. This new Swedish prime minister is an Olof Palme wannabe. He tries so hard to be like the late prime minister, but makes himself look more like an idiot in the process.
I don't know much about internal Swedish politics but I am personally politically closer to European conservatives and liberals rather than socialists. I do agree with a social welfare state though. GCC has a similar system to the one in Scandinavia actually on this front.

Anyway I also agree that the human rights situation in KSA should improve and the ME as a whole. If Sweden really cared about human rights in KSA then I am sure that there would be better ways of telling that or trying to influence the situation in a better direction.

Daim (the chocolate) is Swedish right? Damn good chocolate and ice cream, lol.

Actually I study with a few Swedes from all backgrounds (Arab, Kurdish, Turk and Persian) from Malmoe and they prefer Copenhagen. It's a very funny language. A LOT of Swedes study in Denmark. Many more than the other way around.
 

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