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Sri Lanka: Arms Trade

Volume 488: debated on Friday 27 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will introduce a ban on defence equipment sales to Sri Lanka in light of the military offensive by the Sri Lankan government against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam; and if he will make a statement. (257298)

All applications for export licences to Sri Lanka are assessed on a case by case basis against the National and EU Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the circumstances at the time. The Government believe that a robust and transparent UK licensing regime is the best way to control the UK's strategic exports to all destinations. It is our view that the current situation in Sri Lanka would not be improved by the introduction of an embargo on defence equipment.

Since the abrogation of the ceasefire in January 2008 the UK has not issued any licences, either for lethal goods or for other military goods that we judge would prolong or aggravate the internal conflict in Sri Lanka.