Swedish defence minister resigns amid Saudi weapons scandal

Sweden’s defence minister Sten Tolgfors has resigned amid ongoing revelations about the country’s secret arms deals with Saudi Arabia. Tolgfors told reporters on Thursday (March 29) that he had been considering stepping down for some time, but that the current media circus was the tipping point.

“I have today, upon request from Sten Tolgfors, decided to relieve Sten Tolgfors [of his duties],” Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in the news conference. He added that the infrastructure minister Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd will now temporarily fill the position.

“There was no intrigue behind the resignation,” Tolgfors said. “I’m happy to have been a part of an armed forces for which I have the utmost esteem. But my energy has begun to wane. And the media attention of the last few weeks was the last straw.”

The PM praised Tolgfors for his efforts in helping the Swedish military’s transition from conscription to a more mission-based taskforce.

“Sten has worked hard and in a goal-oriented way and the military’s budget is balanced. Sten Tolgfors deserves recognition for that,” said Reinfeldt, according to The Local. He added that the minister’s decision to leave was not taken “solely because of discussions surrounding Saudi Arabia”.

The news comes after revelations that the Swedish military had hatched secret plans to help build an arms plant in Saudi Arabia and provide surveillance equipment so the prince could spy on his people. It also emerged this week that a Swedish Defence Research Agency official requested that documents relating to the negotiations were not kept in order to “protect” Tolgfors.

Comments are closed.