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Burma: Arms Trade

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of arms trading with Burma, with particular reference to arms from (a) India, (b) Russia and (c) China; and what assessment he has made of the effects of such trade on the situation in Burma.

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

The Government believe that no one should be selling arms to the Burmese regime in view of their appalling human rights record and the high likelihood arms supplied will be use for internal repression. An EU arms embargo has been in place since 1996, and we are working to build support for a global arms embargo. To this end, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister wrote to the UN Secretary General and all members of the Security Council in August 2009.

Reports suggest that India, China and Russia have all supplied arms to Burma. China is believed to be the leading arms supplier and in early January 2010, media reports suggested Russia had agreed to supply $600 million of combat aircraft and arms to the Burma regime. In response to these reports, our embassy in Moscow raised our concerns with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ability of Burma to continue to purchase arms from a wide range of suppliers has helped to reduce their defence and security costs and modernise an army responsible for widespread and systematic human rights abuses.

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