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US approved private arms sales USD 40 billion in 2009

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WASHINGTON (AP): New figures show the US approved USD 40 billion in private arms sales in 2009, with more than USD 7 billion to Mideast and North African nations that are struggling with political upheaval.

From 2008 to 2009, the US authorised increasing sales of military shipments to the now-toppled Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak and the embattled kingdom of Bahrain. But the US reduced such sales to Moammar Gaddafi's Libyan government.

The USD 40 billion total during the first year of the Obama administration reflects a rise in approved arms sales over the final year of the Bush administration in 2008, when the State Department licensed USD 34.2 billion in defense sales.

The latest figures describe sales that the State Department authorised from private US defense companies to other countries. The figures don't include direct US military aid to other nations.

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