Arms Exports (West Africa)

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 7th February 2005.

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Photo of Michael Moore Michael Moore Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on arms sales to (a) Burkina Faso, (b) Benin, (c) Ghana, (d) Co(r)te d'Ivoire, (e) Mali, (f) Niger and (g) Nigeria.

Photo of Denis MacShane Denis MacShane Minister of State (Europe), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The United Kingdom has one of the strictest and most transparent arms export licensing systems of any country. All export licence applications for all destinations are rigorously assessed on a case by case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, taking account of the circumstances prevailing at the time and other announced Government policies. The criteria clearly set out, among other considerations, our commitment to take account of the risk that exports might be diverted within the buyer country, re-exported under undesirable conditions, used for internal repression, external aggression or to abuse human rights and the risk of reverse engineering or unintended technology transfer.

Furthermore, for arms exports to the Co(r)te d'Ivoire, the UK implements fully the arms embargo imposed by UN Security Council resolution 1572 of 15 November 2004, prohibiting the sale or supply of military equipment to Co(r)te d'Ivoire, with certain specific exemptions.

For arms exports to Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Niger and Nigeria, the Government also take full account of the Economic Community of West African States Moratorium declared on 1 November 1998 on the import, export and manufacture of light weapons.

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