FAO Newsdesks - 13th February 2001
Labour's hypocrisy over Small Arms
Foreign secretary Robin Cook and International development minister Chris Mullin today opened a seminar on Small Arms in London. In light of their statements supporting small arms control it should be noted that 970 Single individual export licenses in the small arms category ML1were signed under Labour in 1999. Small arms destinations included Israel, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Columbia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea and Turkey.
Alan Mclaughlin of CAAT said: 'Mr Cook's rhetoric exposes Labour's long-standing hypocrisy over arms sales. If Mr Cook is at all sincere then clearly there is a MOD and DTI stranglehold over weapons licensing policy. Robin Cook has been unable or unwilling to stop just under a thousand licences for small arms being signed in 1999 alone. This means that tens of thousands of small arms have been supplied under Labour'.
He continued: ' Of particular concern is the production equipment for assault rifles and general purpose machine guns to Pakistan, a country which is in border conflict with India and receiving refugees from another internal conflict in Afghanistan. These global partnerships which he speaks of are in sharp contrast to the collaborations and licence production deals that allow companies to export to repressive regimes with little or no control of where the weapons end up after they are transferred. Mr Cook evokes the sentiment of governments who have cutting edge weapons when children are without computers, this is shameful when his government are the ones selling those weapons'.
Contact Alan Mclaughlin, Kevin Mullen or Robin Oakley on +44-(0)-20 7281 0297