Sweden ends weapons deal with Saudi Arabia amid diplomatic rift

Associated Press

The Swedish government says it will not renew a contentious weapons deal with Saudi Arabia.

Tuesday's announcement comes amid a widening diplomatic rift between the two countries.

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Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, who has criticized the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, said Monday she was barred from speaking at an Arab League meeting in Cairo due to Saudi protests.

Even before that, Sweden's left-leaning government had been under pressure from critics at home to not extend a 2005 deal on military cooperation with the ultra-conservative kingdom. The deal has already been renewed once but expires this year.

Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told public broadcaster SVT on Tuesday that Sweden won't extend the agreement.

Sweden's arms exports to Saudi Arabia amounted to 338 million kronor ($40 million) last year.