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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 April 2006, 16:41 GMT 17:41 UK
Arla returns to the Middle East
Saudi man looking at sign urging a boycott of Danish products
Arla sales ground to a halt in the Middle East
Danish-Swedish dairy company Arla Foods has said it is getting its products back into stores in the Middle East.

It supplied 50,000 stores in the area before the publication in Denmark of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed triggered a boycott of Danish goods.

Arla's butter and cheese are back in 3,000 stores across the region and 31 of its largest clients in Saudi Arabia will start selling them from Saturday.

To win back trust, it is now sponsoring humanitarian causes in the Middle East.

"We are delighted that out largest Saudi customers have decided to lift the boycott," said Arla's executive director Finn Hansen.

"We expect the other large supermarkets in the rest of the Middle East to follow."

Islamic tradition

Arla said it had contacted the Danish Red Cross for help in finding the right humanitarian causes in the region to provide assistance to.

The Danish-Swedish company estimates that the boycott will cost it 37m ($64m) this year.

The boycott started on 26 January in Saudi Arabia, but spread to other Muslim countries.

It was focused on Danish products because it was a newspaper in Denmark that first published the cartoons, which were later reprinted around the world.

Islamic tradition forbids any depiction of Allah, Mohammed and all other major prophets.


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