The Swiss state-controlled armaments manufacturer Ruag is to build up its physical presence in Abu Dhabi from next year. The move is doubly sensitive given the civil war raging in nearby Yemen and previous cases of Ruag weapons moving through the region to restricted territories.
The company plans to expand its daughter firm, Ruag Simulation Company, from four employees to 10-15 staff next year in the United Arab Emirate. The office will specialise in training simulation systems, Ruag told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday.
Ruag chief executive Urs Breitmeier told the newspaper that the expansion of the Abu Dhabi branch, which was set up last year, would not breach Swiss munitions export restrictions. “We will only produce in Abu Dhabi what the Swiss export rules allow us to make,” he said.
Ruag Simulation Company will be 51% owned by unnamed local business people, but Breitmeier insisted that the parent company would retain overall control.
This year the Swiss government began lifting a weapons embargo to the region following a long conflict in Yemen, which has involved the UAE and other countries in the area.
On two occasions in recent years, Ruag weapons exported to the UAE ended up in countries that had a Swiss export ban at the time – Syria and Morocco. The scandals have made Ruag operations in the region all the more sensitive.
swissinfo.ch with agencies