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NGO dossier on loophole in arms exports

February 24, 2004 12:00 AM

Commenting on the joint report published by Amnesty International, Oxfam and International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA) today, Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, said,

"The Government's pledge to make international development a priority when it takes on the presidencies of the EU and G8 next year will amount to nothing more than cynical posturing if it does not plug this arms' loophole.

"The Department for International Development, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of Trade and Industry must demonstrate a greater degree of joined-up government. The DTI's desire to support UK business and the FCO's wish to back joint UK/USA defense projects must not be allowed to ride roughshod over DfID's objective of assisting the poorest countries. It is widely known that armaments, and small arms in particular, are one of the greatest obstacles to development in poor countries.

Tom Brake MP intends raising this matter with the Prime Minister in Prime Minister's Questions later today. He has written to Jack Straw, challenging him to adopt tougher safeguards to stop UK components being assembled into weapons systems after the components have been exported.

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