Swedish industry figures have urged the government to uphold the cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
In an opinion piece published Friday by newspaper Dagens Nyheter, 31 prominent representatives of Swedish industry argued that terminating the deal would jeopardise Sweden’s reputation as a serious trading partner.
The industry figures claimed that there are many areas where Swedish companies contribute to development in Saudi Arabia and that trade provides important opportunities to promote human rights and democracy.
Further, they argued that Sweden relies on international exports in order to maintain its generous welfare system. “Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s eighteenth largest export nation and the fourth largest outside Europe. It is our single-most important trade partner in a growing Middle East,” they wrote.
However, the article authors did not address the controversial military elements of Sweden’s partnership with Saudi Arabia, which is debated in Sweden.
All parliament parties apart from the Social Democrats and the Moderates have said they want the arms deal to be scrapped and that they do not want it to be renegotiated.
However, there are also vocal critics within the Social Democrat Party who argue that Sweden should not sell weapons to a country they consider to be an absolute dictatorship.
Saudi Arabia to become fifth largest defence spender as the nation has been spending increasingly in the military sector to combat the volatile security situation in the Middle East. Strategic Defence Intelligence (SDI) has predicted that the Saudis military expenditure will reach US$56
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