HL Deb 29 June 2000 vol 614 cc98-9WA
Lord Hoyle

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will respond to requests for arms and ammunition from the Government of Sierra Leone. [HL3106]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Government have made it clear that they will consider requests for assistance from the Government of Sierra Leone. Following a request for ammunition to meet urgent operational needs, therefore, Ministers have agreed that the Government will supply 5 million rounds of 7.62 mm rifle ammunition and 4,000 rounds of 81mm mortar ammunition, which are available as surplus from MoD stocks. This will be transported to Sierra Leone subject to the Government of Sierra Leone securing formal agreement from the ECOWAS Secretariat that this ammunition can be imported as an exception to their Small Arms Moratorium. In accordance with UNSCR 1171 (1998), this shipment will be notified to the UN Sanctions Committee. The Government have received confirmation from President Kabbah that the ammunition will be used only by regular Sierra Leone army soldiers, in accordance with international humanitarian law and human rights standards, and not by child soldiers. The Government remain prepared to consider further requests for assistance from the Government of Sierra Leone.