Jul 05, 2012
ZURICH, (SANA) – The Swiss government said it was freezing arms exports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a media report said a Swiss-made hand grenade originally shipped to the UAE had been found in Syria.
Reuters quoted the Swiss government as saying in a statement that initial findings suggested the grenade had been part of a RUAG shipment of 225,162 grenades sent to the UAE in 2003.
The statement added that the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) "is therefore tentatively freezing all pending applications for arms exports to the UAE and demanding the return of licenses which have already been issued but not yet used."
It pointed out that the Swiss government said it will make further inquiries because the circumstances in the case remain unclear.
"At present, there is no evidence that Swiss hand grenades have found their way to Syria. Inquiries are ongoing however," the government said in the statement according to Reuters.
Reuters said Switzerland took the decision to freeze arms exports to the UAE after a Swiss newspaper published a picture of a hand grenade produced by Swiss weapons manufacturer RUAG which it said had been taken in the Syrian town of Marea last month, despite the fact that Switzerland stopped arms exports to Syria in 1998.