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Sierra Leone: Support To Ecomog

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 2 July 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:How they reconcile the Common Position adopted by the Council of the European Union 95/544/CFSP of 20 November 1995, which provides for an embargo on weapons designed to kill and their ammunition, weapon platforms, non weapon platforms and ancillary equipment, spare parts, repairs, maintenance and transfer of military technology, and the provisions of paragraph 2 of the Security Council Resolution 1171 of 5 June, which decides that restrictions in the sale and supply of arms and related material to Sierra Leone shall not apply to any such sales for the sole use in Sierra Leone of the Military Observer Group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG). [HL2274]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)

The Common Position defined by the Council of the European Union on 20 November as set out by the noble Lord is in fact 95/515/CFSP (copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House).This Common Position will be taken fully into account in any support we may provide for ECOMOG in Sierra Leone. We and other EU member states have made similar contributions to ECOMOG in Liberia despite a parallel EU arms embargo. We have, however, imposed conditions on the use of our funds to ensure that any equipment supplied to ECOMOG in Sierra Leone could not be misappropriated by any party, including the Nigerian military. These include a stipulation that any such equipment must not leave Sierra Leone. UN Military Observers on the ground can monitor this. There is no question of providing arms; we are looking to give logistic support to ECOMOG.