The union at Serbia's largest weapons producer and exporter appealed to the president on Wednesday to help secure export permits worth $37 million, warning the company might otherwise collapse.
"We are concerned customers will annul deals signed in 2008 if ministries in charge refuse to allow us to export," Dragan Ilic, the head of the Zastava Oruzje's Union of Gunsmiths, said in a letter to President Boris Tadic.
Zastava Oruzje in the central city of Kragujevac is a key manufacturer of military and police weapons as well as hunting and sporting arms.
Officials from Tadic's office and the ministries for defence, interior and economy responsible for granting weapons export permits declined to comment.
A Foreign Ministry official expressed concern about the final destination of the weapons. "A batch of new assault rifles ... in an African country can really shift the local balance of power," he said on condition of anonymity.
Last year, Serbia secured a $235-million weapons deal with Iraq and its recent customers include the United States, Iraq, Libya, Myanmar and Israel.
Serbia's arms export business is a fraction of what it was in the 1980s when former Yugoslavia's weapons industry generated about $2 billion per year.
Last Mod: 19 Şubat 2009, 17:03