UK continues to supply arms to “serious flashpoints”

The Government’s Annual Report on the UK’s Strategic Export Controls in 2003, published today, reveals that, yet again, the UK arms the world’s trouble spots.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s strategy paper predicts that for the next ten years: Serious flashpoints are likely to remain and may intensify between India and Pakistan, in the Middle East, on the Korean peninsula and in the Taiwan Strait. But the Annual Report shows that these destinations are important clients of the UK arms industry. In 2003 licences were issued for the export of £86.5 million of UK military equipment to India; £29.5 million to Pakistan (almost double that for 2002); £47 million to South Korea; and £24 million to Taiwan. The Middle East remains a major destination for UK arms exports – in 2003 equipment worth £189.33 million was shipped to Saudi Arabia; £42.37 million to Turkey and around £25 million each to the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

Indonesia is still being supplied with components and spares for equipment it has used in the war in Aceh and for human rights abuses in the past. In its recent report the parliamentary Quadripartite Committee said that the UK Government does not seriously monitor the use of UK equipment by the Indonesian military. [1]

Campaign Against Arms Trade spokesman Nicholas Gilby said: The Government continues to licence the sale to the brutal Indonesian military equipment which could easily be used for internal repression such as weapons sights, gun silencers, and components for tanks, helicopters and military aircraft. Furthermore, despite warning of tension in the coming years in the Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Korean peninsular, the UK government is contributing to it by flooding these areas with weapons. By continuing to allow the supply of arms to these areas the Government is behaving with utmost recklessness.

For more information or comment please call Nicholas Gilby on 020 7281 0297.

[1] A media briefing describing sales of UK weapons to Indonesia is available.

Read the Government’s Annual Report on the UK’s Strategic Export Controls in 2003

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