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Arms Exports

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to ensure that military equipment manufactured in the UK is not used by oppressive regimes or politically unstable countries. [126232]

and benefits; what the expected cost of each such person is in 2003–04; to whom they are accountable; and if he will make a statement. [112464]

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has two paid special advisers. All current paid special representatives are as listed. We are unable to provide historic records without incurring disproportionate costs. For the cost of the special advisers I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Bercow) on 28 April 2003, Official Report, column 133W. I am withholding further remuneration details under exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

The United Kingdom has one of the strictest and most transparent arms export licensing systems of any country. All export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, taking account of the circumstances prevailing at the time and other announced Government policies. Our criteria clearly set out our commitment to take account of the risk that exports might be diverted within the buyer country, re-exported under undesirable conditions, used for internal repression or external aggression, or to abuse human rights.This Government continues to strengthen strategic export controls. The Export Control Act's secondary legislation is to be laid in October. It will introduce tough new controls on trafficking and brokering, the intangible transfer of military technology, and technical assistance. It is a significant step forward. It will ensure the UK cannot be used as a base for irresponsible trade in arms to undesirable destinations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what action he is taking to ensure that military equipment manufactured in the UK is not being used in Aceh. [126229]

I visited Indonesia on 3–4 June 2003, and raised the issue of British-supplied military equipment with President Megawati and senior members of the Indonesian government. I reminded them of the assurances that British built military equipment should not be used offensively or to violate human rights, and warned of the possible consequences for defence sales and defence relationships if there was a breach of the assurances.Our Embassy in Jakarta regularly raises the assurances with the Indonesian Government, including senior military contacts. Our Embassy receives information from as wide a range of sources as possible, as well as from the Government, to monitor the use of British-built equipment. These include international agencies, NGOs, other observers and the media.We have had no confirmed reports that British-built military equipment has been violating the assurances, but are monitoring the situation. We will follow up all credible allegations on the misuse of British-military equipment.