Explosive increase in Dutch arms exports
Dutch arms exports have sky-rocketed over the past few years. Per head of the population, the Netherlands is now in the top three of weapon exporting countries.
These conclusions can be drawn from new figures published by the Swedish institute SIPRI, which has been monitoring the international arms trade since 1950. The world’s main arms exporting countries are the United States, Russia, and China, with the Netherlands in sixth place.
Per head of the population, the Netherlands is even in third place, with Israel and Sweden in first and second place. The Netherlands produces and exports a variety of weaponry including naval vessels and advanced military electronics.
Over the last two decades, the Netherlands has sold 730 million euros worth of surplus arms and material to the Arab world. In addition to Egypt and Bahrain, customers have included Morocco, Qatar, Oman, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
The merchandise has consisted of armoured personnel carriers APCs, navy frigates, F-16 fighter jets, anti-tank missiles, radar systems and self-propelled howitzers.
Between 2001 and 2005, Dutch arms exports amounted to about 1.1 billion euros compared to 2.9 billion in the second half of the decade, an increase of 160 percent.
A controversial visit by Queen Beatrix to Oman last Tuesday was reportedly intended to safeguard a major defence contract. At stake was an order worth hundreds of millions of euros for four naval vessels to be built by Dutch shipyard Damen Schelde. It is not known if the contract has since been signed.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide