Swiss block export of gun parts destined for Saudi

AP News
Posted: Jan 23, 2013 5:46 PM

GENEVA (AP) — The Swiss government blocked a shipment of pistol parts to the United States on Wednesday, citing the risk that they could be used to commit human rights abuses at their final destination in Saudi Arabia.

Swiss-based gun manufacturer KRISS Group SA condemned the decision, saying it wasn't consistent with previous practice and could put jobs in Switzerland at risk.

The parts were for high-end Sphinx pistols that the company intended to assemble in the United States and then sell to Saudi Arabia's royal guard.

But the Swiss Cabinet said in a statement that the pistols "could be used to commit human rights abuses" and therefore an export license would be refused.

Switzerland has been tightening controls on arms sales abroad in recent years to prevent foreign firms from re-exporting their purchases to abusive regimes or war zones.

Last year, the government temporarily stopped the sale of weapons to the United Arab Emirates after Swiss-made grenades sent to the Gulf state were found with rebels in Syria.