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Middle East: Armed Conflict

Volume 490: debated on Friday 27 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 10 March 2009, Official Report, column 236W, on Navy: deployment, what the outcome was of the conference in London held on 13 March on contingency options directed at countering arms smuggling into Gaza; and what decisions have been made on the UK’s contribution to such operations. (266919)

In response to concerns over the flow of weapons to the Gaza Strip, the nations represented at the London Conference on tackling arms smuggling into Gaza agreed and published a ‘Program of Action’. This initiative seeks to enhance efforts to prevent and interdict the illicit trafficking of arms, ammunition and weapon component to Gaza and, within the relevant jurisdictions prevent the facilitation of such transfers. A range of options is available for participating governments to consider, including the sharing of information and intelligence, co-ordinated diplomatic engagement and co-ordinating military and law enforcement activities.

The UK continues to explore a number of contingency options to support this initiative and will attend further meetings of participating states.