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Value of weapons exports falls in first half

Switzerland’s exports of war materiel were down by 12 per cent in the first half of the year compared with last year, with a value of SFr292 million ($277 million).

Germany was the main customer, buying weapons and weapon components valued at SFr67.2 million.

Figures released by the Federal Customs Administration on Tuesday showed that Saudi Arabia was in second place (SFr31.8 million) and Britain third (SFr29.3 million).

Behind the top three came Pakistan, which spent more than SFr13 million on ammunition for its anti-aircraft defence.

Switzerland’s top five arms customers in 2009 were Germany, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Britain and Belgium. Most arms went to Europe (69 per cent) and Asia (25 per cent).

In November last year, a proposal by an alliance of peace groups and centre-left political parties to ban the export of weapons and other war materiel was rejected.

It was the third time in nearly 40 years that pacifists had sought to win a majority for their cause. and agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR