HC Deb 22 March 1999 vol 328 cc60-1W
Ms Bridget Prentice

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the steps taken by the European Union to adopt an arms embargo against Ethiopia and Eritrea. [78414]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

Following a UK proposal, the European Union adopted a mandatory arms embargo against Ethiopia and Eritrea at the EU Finance Ministers Council on 15 March 1999.

Following adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1227 on 10 February 1999, which urged UN member states to end immediately all sales of arms and munitions to Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Government took immediate steps to ban exports from the UK to Ethiopia and Eritrea of all goods and technology on the Military List, which forms Part III of Schedule 1 to the Export of Goods (Control) Order 1994, as amended. Details were reported to Parliament on 15 February 1999, Official Report, column 582. The national measures necessary to implement the EU arms embargo were therefore already in place when the EU embargo was adopted.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will be issuing a press release on the EU embargo and has issued guidance to Departments in London, Posts overseas and other Whitehall Departments. An updated version of the list of all UK policy commitments on the application of strategic export controls, including arms embargoes, will be placed in the Library of the House.

Mrs. Gillan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the current conflict in Eritrea; and if he will make a statement.[78034]

Mr. Tony Lloyd

Fighting between Ethiopia and Eritrea resumed on 6 February, with subsequent violation of the air moratorium. We made clear our strong opposition to this resort to war. We supported UN Security Council resolution 1227 of 10 February, which demanded a cessation of hostilities and a resumption of diplomatic negotiations; reaffirmed support for the OAU Framework Agreement; and called for a voluntary arms embargo. I announced on 15 February 1999,Official Report, column 582, that the United Kingdom had implemented the arms embargo.

Following Ethiopian military gains on the Badume plateau, Eritrea accepted the Framework Agreement on 27 February. The Security Council welcomed this in a Presidential statement the same day. But heavy fighting has continued. We are actively considering with our international partners how to give further support to the OAU in ensuring that both sides now fully accept the OAU proposals, and to secure a formal cessation of hostilities.