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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Government of Uzbekistan about military equipment to be transferred to the latter in exchange for shipping out UK military hardware following the UK's withdrawal from Afghanistan; and whether his Department plans to seek any undertakings in respect of the use of such equipment.
The Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend Mr Hammond, met Government of Uzbekistan Ministers in February and May 2012 to discuss reverse transit, including the potential gifting of military equipment.
We take our export responsibilities very seriously and operate one of the most rigorous export control regimes in the world. We will only gift or sell equipment which meets the EU Consolidated Criteria, which includes an assessment of whether the equipment could be used for human rights violations or internal repression. The proposed gifting package for the Uzbek Ministry of Defence has been examined and cleared against these criteria. The text of our Memorandum of Understanding with Uzbekistan on defence co-operation makes clear that co-operation—which includes any gifted equipment—will be on the basis of generally recognised principles of international law and a commitment to democratic values, human rights and freedoms.