Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 39, July - August 1999
UK Parliament Report Criticizes Arms Sales PolicyOn 4 August, the British House of Commons' Select Committee on International Development released a wide ranging report, Conflict Prevention and Post-Conflict Reconstruction, which included a number of significant recommendations for the revision of UK arms exports policy. In its Executive Summary, the Committee sets out its case as follows:
"The Committee concludes that the determined and principled export of arms exports is a litmus test of this Government's concern to prevent conflict and inject an ethical dimension into foreign policy.
The lack of proportion between the expenditure of developing countries on arms and their expenditure on social sectors is a scandal, and one in which many arms-exporting countries are implicated. ...
The report also voiced criticism of the Defence Export Services Organization (DESO) - which, the Committee noted acerbically, had more staff working in Indonesia than the entire Foreign & Commonwealth Office's arms control research unit. Of more fundamental concern was the criteria by which DESO pursued contracts; correspondingly, one of the report's recommendations was "that the Government state in their response [to this report] how the activities are compatible with stated policy on conflict prevention and arms control."
Reports: Conflict Prevention and Post-Conflict Resolution, The Sixth Report of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on International Development, 28 July 1999 (full text available at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199899/cmselect/cmintdev/55/5502.htm; British MPs criticize Government on arms sales, Reuters, 5 August.
© 1999 The Acronym Institute.