Swiss arms exports rise sharply in 2008

Arms exports from Switzerland rose by 55 percent in 2008, reaching a total of 721,968 Swiss francs ( about 620,713 U.S. dollars), Xinhua reported Tuesday, referring to the official Swissinfo news website.

The country's arms sales to Saudi Arabia leapt massively to 32 million Swiss francs from 464,479 Swiss francs in 2007, the website quoted the Federal Customs Office as saying.

Elsewhere in the Middle East -- the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Kuwait -- sales dropped off and in Egypt fell by more than 30 percent to 30,960 Swiss francs.

Sales to Switzerland's biggest customer, Pakistan, went up by a third in the year to 109 million Swiss francs, while exports to Denmark, the next major client, doubled to 83 million Swiss francs in 2008. ( 1 U.S. dollar = 0.8598 Swiss francs).

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