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Vol 42 No 4

Published 23rd February 2001

South Africa

Wrong number, again

South Africa's hopes of reviving the sale of nearly 10 billion Rand (US$1.4 bn.) of G6 artillery pieces to Saudi Arabia seem to have been scuppered by the 16 February bombardment of Iraq by the United States and Britain. Saudi officials are putting the deal on hold again, saying that their military and trading relations with the USA (which has bases in Saudi) must take precedence over the South African sale. Negotiations for the G6 deal started in 1996 and were suspended in 1998 after Saudi officials blamed repayments to the USA for the Gulf War for a cash squeeze on the kingdom's arms budget. By then, Saudi officials and middlemen had received over R100 million in sweeteners from South Africa.

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