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Volume 405: debated on Friday 16 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government has taken to investigate the allegations that British-made spares for Hawk aircraft were shipped to the Zimbabwean Airforce in contravention of sanctions against Zimbabwe; and what the results were of the investigations. [112327]

The UN Expert Panel on the Illegal Exploitation of the Natural Resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo (the Panel) published a report on 15 October 2002. In it the Panel alleged that British made Hawk jet spare parts were supplied to Zimbabwe in contravention of EU sanctions. The UK Government takes these allegations seriously. We have ascertained: that there was no application for a licence to export these goods to Zimbabwe; and that HM Customs have no information about the export of these goods from the UK. In order to follow up this allegation, and others, we supported a new mandate for the Panel to provide the Security Council and UN member states with information supporting the Panel's allegations. The Panel has begun its work, and we have specifically asked them for information relating to the sale of British made Hawk jet spare parts to Zimbabwe. We have not yet received this information from the Panel. We are repeating our request.