Swiss freeze arms exports to U.A.E.

July 5, 2012 at 12:21 PM
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BERNE, Switzerland, July 5 (UPI) -- Switzerland's Economics Ministry has blocked requests for munitions sales from the United Arab Emirates.

The decision comes in the wake of grenades allegedly found in Syria that originally constituted part of a munitions shipment by the state-owned Swiss arms manufacturer Ruag to the United Arab Emirates.

The Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs announced investigations were continuing with other government ministries to establish the details of the alleged existence of Ruag grenades in Syria, and the government has also contacted the U.A.E. government for clarification, the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. reported Wednesday.

The incident came to light when on June 30 SonntagsZeitung and the Le Matin Dimanche newspapers published a picture of a Ruag hand grenade apparently photographed by a reporter in the Syrian town of Marea several days earlier.

Swiss authorities say the grenade shown in the picture was part of a shipment by the state-owned Ruag arms manufacturing company to the United Arab Emirates in 2003. As a condition of sale, a senior U.A.E. official signed a declaration not to re-export any of the 225,160 Ruag manufactured grenades.

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