HL Deb 26 March 2003 vol 646 cc79-80WA
Baroness Thornton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether any goods subject to the European Union arms embargo have recently been approved for export to Bosnia. [HL2266]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Government have approved the export of four military-listed portable explosive detectors to the NATO Stabilisation Force (SFOR) headquarters in Sarajevo. Bosnia and Herzegovina is subject to an EU arms embargo, from which only demining equipment and the transfer of small arms to the police are specifically exempt. The embargo was put in place to ensure the safety of international troops and civilians deployed locally. SFOR requires this equipment for the protection of its premises and personnel.

This decision was made in accordance with our practice occasionally to make an exemption to our interpretation of the embargo by approving exports of non-lethal military goods to humanitarian, media or peacekeeping organisations where it is clear that the embargo was not intended to prevent those exports and there is a strong humanitarian case for them.

Her Majesty's Government fully support SFOR and recognise its legitimate need for the right equipment to carry out its job safely and effectively. The decision underlines Her Majesty's Government' continued support for the work being done by SFOR in maintaining security and devleopment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.