London/Colombo, June 2 (ANI): Britain approved commercial weapon sales of over 13.6 million pounds, including armoured vehicles, machinegun components and semi-automatic pistols to the Sri Lanka Army, official records show.
According to The Times, Slovakia provided 10,000 rockets worth 1.1 million pounds, while Bulgaria approved sales of guns and ammunition worth 1.75 million pounds.
Only Slovakia has confirmed delivery of rockets, but the approval of the sales raises the question of whether weapons from the EU were used in the last five months of Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war, during which UN officials estimate that 20,000 civilians were killed.
“I think we need answers about what these were used for,” said Mike Gapes, a Labour MP who chairs the Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee and is a member of the Committee on Arms Export Controls.
The sales were cleared despite the 1998 EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, which restricts transfers to countries facing internal conflicts or with poor human rights records and a history of violating international law.
John Battle, a Labour MP, former Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister and now a member of the Committee on Arms Export Controls, called for an immediate suspension of EU arms sales to Sri Lanka until it lifted all restrictions on journalists and aid workers.
Several MPs and MEPs also called for the EU code of conduct, which became legally binding on December 8, to be strengthened to ensure consistency and transparency across the 27 member states. (ANI)