Sweden to end defense agreement with Saudi Arabia over human rights

By REUTERS
March 11, 2015 01:31

 
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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."

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