Sri Lanka: Arms trade

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 15th June 2009.

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Photo of Keith Simpson Keith Simpson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on alleged sales of military equipment to the Sri Lankan Government since 2006 by the UK and other EU countries in contravention of the 1998 EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

All UK export licensing decisions relating to Sri Lanka have been consistent with the Consolidated Export Licensing Criteria, and the EU Code of Conduct. All UK licence applications for exports to Sri Lanka have been carefully assessed against the criteria on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature of the goods, the end use, and end users, and with full consideration of the prevailing situation. In line with these criteria, any export licence applications that would provoke or prolong the internal conflict or be used for internal repression have been refused.

We cannot comment on exports or licensing decisions made by other countries, including our EU partners. However COARM, the EU Working Group on Conventional Arms in Brussels, provides a forum for discussion of any issues relating to the Code of Conduct. There was such a discussion in June 2008, when an export to Sri Lanka was involved. As a result of these discussions the exporting state revoked a licence that had previously been approved.

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