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Egypt: Exports

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Leader of the Green Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on any cases of internal repression in Egypt; if he will impose an embargo on the export of all equipment subject to the UK export licence regime to Egypt; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has made clear UK concerns about incidents of unrest and violence in Egypt in recent months. In his statement of 23 November he said that he was deeply concerned by the unacceptable violence that had taken place around Tahrir Square and other parts of Egypt, and called on the Egyptian authorities to respect the right of peaceful protest and immediately to cease the use of violence against protestors.

We are aware of reports that UK manufactured tear gas has been used in Egypt. No licences for the export of tear gas to Egypt have been granted since 1999. Since that time UK export controls have been radically overhauled including through the passing of the Export Control Act 2002 and the adoption of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Under the consolidated criteria we will not issue licences for goods which will be used for internal repression or for aggravating existing tensions or conflicts. Export licence applications for Egypt, as for all countries, are kept under constant review and every licence is scrutinised in light of changing facts on the ground. We have no plans to impose an embargo on Egypt for all equipment subject to UK export controls.

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