Swaziland is still trying to buy the US$60m (E429 million) worth of weapons, the UK Government refused to allow.
John Kunene, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, who signed the original deal in 2008 said the kingdom had never given up trying to buy the weapons.
It was revealed by Wikileaks this week that the Swazi Government wanted to buy the weapons through an arms broker in the UK called Unionlet. The UK Government refused to allow the deal to go through because it believed the weapons would be used by the Swazi Government to suppress its own people, or they would be sold on to another country, possibly Zimbabwe or Iran.
Among the weapons were assault rifles, heavy machine guns, armoured personnel carriers and helicopters.
The Swazi News, an independent newspaper in Swaziland, reports today (26 February 2011) that Kunene is still trying to broker a deal.
‘We have been in constant discussion with Unionlet in buying arms for peacekeeping exercises in other countries, and have never abandoned the idea,’ the newspaper reports Kunene saying.
Kunene said the United Nations would reimburse the money Swaziland spent on the weapons. He said the weapons would be kept in Swaziland.
He attacked Maurice Parker, the former US Ambassador to Swaziland, who had raised concerns in 2009 that the weapons could be used to suppress the Swazi population or be sold on.
He told the Swazi News that Parker’s allegation was ‘unfortunate’ and he accused him of interfering in the affairs of Swaziland.
The Swazi News reported Kunene saying, Swaziland is a sovereign state and can purchase anything, including arms, as long as the laws have been followed. ‘This will mean there is interference into the affairs of the country.’
SWAZI ‘SECRET ARMS DEAL FOR IRAN’