Saudi Arabia topped the list of countries importing arms, ammunition and equipment from the Western Balkans in 2016, according to a report prepared at the request of the United Nations.
Weapons producers and governments in the region, which comprises Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Albania, are boosting arms production and exports of surplus stocks to improve their struggling economies, Reuters News Agency cited the report.
All but Albania are former parts of old federal Yugoslavia, which was a major global arms exporter, especially to developing countries.
The report by the South Eastern and Eastern Europe Clearinghouse for the Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SEESAC) said that the region’s annual revenues from arms sales rose by 12 percent to 514.6 million euros in 2016.
Serbia tops the 2016 regional export list with sales worth 406.6 million euros, followed by Bosnia with 104.3 million euros. In 2016, Albania sold 1.28 million euros worth of arms, the report said.
Montenegro and Macedonia sold 1.13 million euros and 1.21 million euros respectively, according to the report, citing statistics from individual governments, according to the report.
Weapons sales from the Western Balkans to Saudi Arabia in 2016 amounted to 118 million euros, making it the single biggest buyer. The remainder was sold to countries ranging from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq and Turkey to the United States, said the report.