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Arms Proliferation

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development whether there is a consensus among European partners on the proliferation of small arms in developing countries. [129854]

Over the last five years European states, through the European Union and its accession countries, have consistently demonstrated a commitment to support efforts to tackle the proliferation of small arms in developing countries through continuing EU programmes. Currently these programmes are enacted as part of the Joint Action on the European Union's contribution to combating the destabilising accumulation and uncontrolled spread of Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW), adopted on 12 July 2002 by the European Council.The EU aims to strengthen the efforts to reduce the availability and supply of SALW to areas of conflict or potential conflict, to contribute to the development of a range of international measures to limit the demand for SALW in such areas, and to help governments to cope with the problems these weapons cause.The EU currently supports programmes in Cambodia, in central America through the UN Regional Centre in Lima and in conjunction with UNDP in south eastern Europe (the South Eastern Europe Clearinghouse on Small Arms in Belgrade). EU supported projects in South Ossetia and Albania have recently been completed. In the last three years, the EU has committed around €7.5million to these programmes, through the Common Foreign and Security Policy Budget.In June 2003, EU member states agreed a Joint Position on brokering activities which requires members states to enact legislation to regulate activities of brokers, including brokering of small arms and light weapons.