March 16, 2010 11:40
A Swedish peace group says it is alarmed at what it calls the brewing arms race in tension-filled parts of the world.
A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute released Monday says global arms sales grew 22 percent between 2005 and 2009 compared to the previous five years.
The report says 27 percent of those purchases were of combat aircraft.
The group says it is especially concerned that when rich countries bought expensive war planes, their less wealthy neighboring rivals reacted with their own purchases.
The institute says it questions the wisdom of countries with high poverty rates buying expensive jets.
The report says arms races are brewing in such volatile areas as the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and South America.
It says the United States continued to be the world's largest exporter of arms. It says Greece was among the top five recipients of major conventional weapons and a major customer for U.S. and French warplanes.
The institute also reports dramatic increases in arms sales to South America and Southeast Asia, especially to Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.
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