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Arms exports to SL have increased recently-UK MP

22 November 2013 12:52 pm - 9     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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British Government Parliamentarian Michael Fallon said that Arms exports to Sri Lanka have increased recently, as the British government has issued a number of licences for weapons and other equipment that will be used by maritime security companies undertaking commercial anti-piracy work.

In a response to question the MP also told in British Parliament on Thursday that, “…Those ongoing efforts to fight piracy are important for international trade and security. Our assessment of those applications has taken into account the fact that the weapons will be held in secure storage while in Sri Lanka and that the companies are fully signed up to the international code of conduct for private security service providers. The licences that have been mentioned were all for anti-piracy, and they were not supplies to the Sri Lankan Government.

“We assesses all export licence applications to Sri Lanka case by case, in accordance with the consolidated and the national criteria. Decisions on Sri Lanka, of course, take into account alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law during the military conflict that ended in 2009, as well as the nature of the equipment—in other words, would it be used in a manner inconsistent with the criteria?” he said.

British Government had issued arms export licencefor 100 pistols, 130 rifles, 210 combat shotguns, 600 assault rifles, unknown quantities of small arms ammunition and unknown quantities of machine guns, the parliament was told.

Sir John Stanley, chairman of the arms export control committee, said the government has a "questionable" approach on arms exports to Sri Lanka.

The senior Conservative MP said it was "not credible" for ministers to claim the £8m of weapons exported to Sri Lanka last year were all used to combat piracy.

Stanley questioned the government's position, after Cameron visited victims of intimidation and torture while attending the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Colombo last week.

The prime minister called for an independent inquiry into alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan state, as he became the first foreign leader to visit the north of the country where he was hailed by some refugees as "a god" sent to help them.

Stanley told MPs: "If I may be presumptuous and bring God down to earth for a moment, I ask the prime minister and his fellow ministers to address arms exports and internal repression in Sri Lanka.

"I do not need to recite the appalling human rights abuses that have taken place in Sri Lanka. I strongly support the prime minister in his calls for an international independent inquiry.

"However, against that human rights background, the house will wish to consider the British government's arms export licence approvals in just nine months of last year. They included 100 pistols, 130 rifles, 210 combat shotguns, 600 assault rifles, unknown quantities of small arms ammunition and unknown quantities of machine guns.

"I hope that the minister will not say that these were all for counter-piracy, because I do not find that a credible answer, particularly when combined with the complete list of the 49 extant arms export approved licences to Sri Lanka."

More than £8m of weapons were legally exported to Sri Lanka in 2012, which is not subject to an arms embargo but classed as a country of concern by the UK government.

Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, has said this was approved because the weapons were sold not to the military, but private security companies engaged in the fight against piracy in the region.

Campaigners have raised concerns about oversight of weapons intended for anti-piracy operations. In a committee hearing with MPs, Oliver Sprague, programme director at Amnesty International UK, said he had no specific evidence of diversion but the robust controls on sales of small arms overseas seem to be "thrown out the window" when anti-piracy is concerned.
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  Comments - 9

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  • Cobra Saturday, 23 November 2013 01:25 AM

    UK is making up for her loss due to her stubbornness of not helping SL with arms during the fight against the tiger terrorists.

    Gamarala Sunday, 24 November 2013 01:05 PM

    For the Tamils any white man has always been God, so its no surprise that Cameron was thought of as a God. If Britain does not export arms to us, we could buy them cheaper in the open market. Britain is not the only country that makes arms.

    Gamarala Sunday, 24 November 2013 01:09 PM

    We do not trust any concerns by Amnesty International they were given $50,000 by the Canadian Tamil alliance last year. So AI too has been the mouthpiece of the LTTE supporting Diaspora. AI is not creditable to us in S/Lanka.

    Tonto Sunday, 24 November 2013 01:10 PM

    Amnesty International speak with forked tongue. No trust what they say.

    MagodisThuma Saturday, 23 November 2013 02:00 AM

    Rakna Lanka & Avant Garde...Earning huge amounts of money. Where this money go ?

    ari Saturday, 23 November 2013 02:15 AM

    what you going to do using by this arms ? rabbit or fox hunting LOL

    A.F.A.Cader Sunday, 24 November 2013 04:40 AM

    Iran is building up its nuclear arsenal for peaceful purposes. Sri Lanka is importing arms for peaceful purposes. Why don't people understand this?

    james bond Saturday, 23 November 2013 10:24 AM

    weapons buying has very attractive commisions.

    Piyumi Saturday, 23 November 2013 10:26 AM

    We haven't got arms free! We have paid dearly for procurement of all arms supplies. Instead of criticizing GoSL and to please Tamil diaspora you should be happy for the revenue you have earned from Sri Lanka for the past 30 years. Also, no doubt you are still trying divide Sri Lanka so that there will be never ending battles between GoSL and LTTE for the boarder and your arm sales would be a lucrative business.


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