Sri Lanka: Arms Trade

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Geoffrey Clifton-Brown Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the amount of arms entering Sri Lanka; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the entry of arms into the country on the peace process there.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary clearly expressed our view that no party to the conflict will prevail through a military solution alone when she met the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister on 7 March. The availability of illegally-imported weaponry, while not a cause of the conflict in itself, is undoubtedly an aggravating factor and one which acts to prolong the conflict in Sri Lanka. Through the Global Conflict Prevention Pool (a Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development and Ministry of Defence administered fund), the Government are working with Saferworld to help the Sri Lankans to develop a national strategy to counter the proliferation of small arms and light weapons.

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