Swedish DM quits over Saudi arms plant row

By REUTERS
March 29, 2012 11:35

 
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STOCKHOLM - Sweden's defense minister was forced to quit on Thursday after weeks of pressure over reports the Nordic state planned to help Saudi Arabia build a weapons plant.

Arms sales to Saudi Arabia have caused criticism in a country which prides itself on standing up for human rights, and the reports about aid for the weapons plant sparked an outcry.

Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors survived initial reports in early March by public radio about plans for a state-run defense research agency, FOI, to help Saudi Arabia build the plant by saying he had not known of them and that FOI had over-stepped its authority.

But reports of the details of the affair have continued to surface, steadily increasing pressure on him. "He (Tolgfors) has resigned at his own request," said Roberta Alenius, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

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