Select Committee on International Development Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Cyprus


  The regime applied to strategic exports to Cyprus flows from UN Security Council Resolution 1062 of 28 June 1996 which expresses "serious concern about the modernisation and upgrading of military forces" in Cyprus. In support of this the Government is committed to restricting exports to Cyprus which contribute to the military build-up on the island, and issued a Statement to this effect on 13 February 1997 (attached). The types of equipment the Government seeks to restrict are categorised in the Statement and defined in the EU Common Embargo list.

  These guidelines relate only to exports to military end-users. The UK recognises that there may be a legitimate civilian use for equipment which, if purchased by the military, would contravene SCR 1062. For example, the export of the sniper rifle to Cyprus highlighted by the Committee was approved as having a legitimate anti-terrorist policing purpose; the export of the same rifle to the armed forces in Cyprus would not have been approved. However, all export licence applications for equipment on the UK Military List are assessed on a case by case basis against national criteria and those contained in the EU Code of Conduct, irrespective of end-user.

  Descriptions of the categories of equipment excluded from export to the military in Cyprus can be found in the EU Common Embargo list, copy attached. There can be some room for interpretation over the definition "armed, armoured vehicles" when used to describe a weapons platform. The UK has considered that a vehicle must be both armed and armoured to qualify as a weapons platform; and that a vehicle which is only armoured, such as a field ambulance, would not be a weapons platform. The other descriptions are self-explanatory.


  The policies pursued by EU partners in respect of Cyprus vary.

  Like the UK, Germany, Portugal and Sweden have established specific guidelines for exports to Cyprus. The practice of these countries appears to be more restrictive than our guidelines in that they prevent the export of most types of lethal or other military equipment irrespective of end-user, although the impact of such measures needs to be considered against the small number of licence applications which these countries receive, compared to the UK.

  Other producers and exporters of military equipment, such as France, Spain and Belgium, do not have specific restrictions on defence exports to Cyprus. We understand that France is guided by its commitment to the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and that Belgium is guided by the policy of exporting only "defensive" weapons (which may include certain military equipment). Again, these countries issue very few licences. We are aware, however, of reports in the defence trade press which suggest that some of them may be prepared to permit exports which would be prevented by the UK guidelines.

  Finally, some Member States such as Ireland and Luxembourg have never had to consider any export licence applications for Cyprus due to their lack of an indigenous defence industry, and consequently do not have a clear policy in this area.

11 October 2000


  Mr Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the Government's policy on the export of military equipment to Cyprus; and if he will make a statement. (15203)

  Mr David Davis: We fully support United Nations Security Council resolution 1062 which expresses "serious concern about the modernisation and upgrading of military forces" on Cyprus. We will therefore grant licences for the export of equipment only to the military forces of either side on the island of Cyprus which we are satisfied does not fall within the following categories as defined by the EU common embargo list:

    (a)  Weapons designed to kill and their ammunition; or

    (b)  Weapons platforms; or

    (c)  Ancillary equipment which is specifically designed for use in conjunction with either (a) or (b).

      Within this context, export licence applications will continue to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  Note: Among other items category (a) includes guns, bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, fire control systems and tanks. Category (b) includes armed and armoured vehicles or vehicles with fitted mountings for arms, vessels of war, aircraft and helicopters.

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