Swiss Cabinet Blocks Arms to Pakistan

31 March 2009 (Last Updated March 31st, 2009 18:30)

The Swiss Cabinet has rejected a request for the export of replacement parts for anti-aircraft systems to Pakistan due to the instable political situation in the country. The Asian nation was the largest buyer of Swiss arms last year. A spokeswoman for the economics ministry

The Swiss Cabinet has rejected a request for the export of replacement parts for anti-aircraft systems to Pakistan due to the instable political situation in the country.

The Asian nation was the largest buyer of Swiss arms last year.

A spokeswoman for the economics ministry said on Wednesday that Switzerland would reconsider its policy if and when other European countries restarted exporting arms to Pakistan.

The cabinet also rejected a request for the export of weapons to Egypt and Saudi Arabia because of the unsatisfactory human rights situation in those countries.

Switzerland has approved the sale of hundreds of rifles and machine guns to India to equip the police in various parts of the country, and the delivery of parts for air-to-air guided missiles and anti-aircraft guns to South Korea.

The pacificist group, Switzerland Without an Army, wants to ban the export of arms, and has collected enough signatures to bring the issue to a nationwide vote. A date still has to be set for the vote.