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Thailand places billion-dollar fighter jet order with Sweden

Sweden’s defence group Gripen announced Wednesday that Thailand has placed an order worth 7 billion krona (about $1.08 billion) for 12 jet fighters.

Gripen said that it would deliver six of the JAS-39 jets next year. The deal has been denounced by Amnesty International, the Swedish peace federation and opposition Green party members of parliament, demanding that it be cancelled on grounds that otherwise the government would be violating the law banning arms sales to military dictatorships. Foreign Minister Carl Bildt rejected the demand, pointing out that Thailand is slated for new democratic elections in December. To date, the JAS-39 Gripen jet fighter has been sold to the air forces of South Africa, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as to Britain for training purposes. (m&