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10,000 Missiles From Slovakia

An arms trade monitoring group has criticised the sale of 10,000 military missiles by Slovakia to Sri Lanka.The missiles are designed to be dispatched from multiple rocket launchers.There are concerns that the sale could constitute a violation of the spirit of the European Union (EU) Code of Conduct on Arms Exports.
The three-metre missiles were due to be shipped to Colombo on Thursday, the BBC said in a news report.Sri Lanka has been engaged in civil war for 25 years, and Saferworld is concerned that the weapons could be used against civilians.
Head of arms exports controls at Saferworld, Roy Isbister said that the EU code of conduct forbids arms exports where there is a danger the weapons could be used against civilians.
“Where there’s a serious risk of human rights abuses,” he said, “or where regional peace and security have been undermined, then the document says the sale should not go ahead. But although the code of conduct is a politically binding document, it is also too loosely-worded, so that countries have lots of wriggle room to justify selling arms.”
There have been reports that the Sri Lankan Army sometimes uses its weapons indiscriminately and that civilians are caught up in the conflict.Analysts say that because the government bans most independent observers from travelling to the war-affected areas, it is impossible to know the full truth.The EU would not comment on this specific case, but Christiana Hohmann, Spokeswoman for Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Commissioner for External Relations, said, “How the code is implemented is up to each member country.”The Slovakian Economy Ministry denies that the sale is in violation of the code.Ministry Spokesman Branislav Zvara said, “The UN Security Council’s evaluation of the situation in Sri Lanka has not led it to declare an embargo on arms shipments to the country.”