||Last Updated: Oct 7, 2007 - 10:08:09 AM
our exports to the government of Myanmar are in full compliance with local and
domestic laws and in accordance with the state policy about sales of defence
industry products", a Serbian defense official told Balkan Insight on
condition of anonymity.
His remarks came after the London-based Amnesty International human rights
watchdog urged the UN Security Council to impose an immediate arms embargo on
Myanmar, over its recent violent crackdown on pro-democracy protestors.
The organization said China has been Myanmar's primary weapons supplier, along
with India, Serbia, Russia, Ukraine and other countries.
The EU and the US have already imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar, but the UN
The Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe has also
recommended an end to all weapons exports to the government in Yangon
Starting in the mid-1950s former Yugoslavia and its now-defunct ZINVOJ defense
industry complex exported artillery, infantry weapons and J1, J2 and G4 jet
trainers and light attack aircraft to Burma.
The then Yugoslavia was one of the key weapons exporters to the Third World
countries, some run by autocratic leaders with poor human rights records.
"We were exporting to many customers, including some which were not quite
democratic regimes", said Milos Vasic, a military analyst with Belgrade's
Following the breakup of the federal Yugoslavia of six republics, Serbia's
state-run weapons exporter Yugoimport SDPR maintained its deals with Myanmar,
as "they are dependent on our logistical support", the official said.
"Since 2001 we have exported some 30 World War II vintage M2A1 and M56
105mm towed howitzers and an additional batch of 155mm Nora self-propelled
howitzers, all for Myanmar's military", the official said.
Vasic said that exports of heavy weapons to Myanmar had raised few eyebrows in
"Howitzers are not a problem as one cannot use it for police purposes.
What is important is to see whether Serbia has exported items, such as riot
control equipment or tear gas", Vasic said.
In a report carried Tuesday by Belgrade's B92 TV, Serbia's Defence Ministry
said that its watchdogs have scrutinized every end-user certificate for all
"For what we know, there were no shipments to the country's police or
security forces", the source said.
The end user certificate is a document that states the final destination of
every weapons shipment.
The Serbian government and its Yugoimport SDPR weapons exporter make a separate
decision each time whether to proceed with a sale.
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