To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the oral answer of 2 September 2013, Official Report, column 19, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the reasons for consideration that sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride could be precursors in some other application not being given before the licences were issued; and if he will make a statement.
No such discussions were held. The two standard individual export licences for sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride were revoked in July 2012—before any of the goods had been exported—as a direct result of an expansion of the EU sanctions regime for Syria. The consideration of the licence applications against the Consolidated Criteria included an assessment of the risk that they would be diverted to be used as precursor chemicals in the manufacture of chemical weapons. But there was no evidence that these exports would be so diverted, and the quantities concerned were consistent with their stated end use for commercial purposes. No subsequent evidence has arisen to cast doubt on the assessment made at the time.