Syria Live Blog
Swiss suspend UAE arms shipment, fearing they would end up in Syria
The Swiss government suspended arms shipments to the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday amid a report that hand grenades made in Switzerland had found their way to Syria.
The decision - described as a provisional measure - comes after the country's Sonntagszeitung newspaper published a photograph of one such device taken by a reporter shadowing rebels in the town of Marea, north of Aleppo, at the end of June.
While uncertainty remains about how or even if Swiss grenades are being used by Syrian rebels in their fight against government forces, all arms shipments to United Arab Emirates have been put on hold, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.
"Although the evidence remains unclear, SECO has immediately moved to freeze all arms export permits to the UAE," spokeswoman Antje Baertschi told AFP.
"We took this matter seriously because something similar happened last year when a journalist covering Libya found crates of Swiss munitions in Libya. These crates were exported by a Swiss company to Qatar which signed a non re-export agreement. It was an error on Qatar's part."