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Swiss Freeze Arms Exports to U.A.E. After Syria Grenade Picture

July 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Swiss government has frozen arms exports to the United Arab Emirates and is conducting an inquiry following allegations that one of its grenades has been found in Syria.

Federal authorities said the decisions followed the publication on July 1 of a picture of a hand grenade said by the SonntagsZeitung newspaper to have been found in the Syrian town of Marea. Switzerland says it has not exported arms to Syria since 1998.

“The hand grenade photographed originates from a shipment made by Ruag to the United Arab Emirates in 2003,” the Swiss government said in a statement yesterday. “At present, there is no evidence that Swiss hand grenades have found their way to Syria. Inquiries are ongoing however.”

Ruag Holding AG is a Swiss government-owned company producing guns and missiles for customers including the country’s armed forces.

The Swiss government has contacted U.A.E. authorities seeking further information, according to the statement.

Calls to the U.A.E. Foreign Ministry today weren’t answered.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francis Harris in London at fharris4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net

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