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Defence & Arms Last Updated: Oct 7, 2007 - 10:08:09 AM

Serbia's Arms Exports to Myanmar (Burma) "Legal"
By BIRN 3/10/07
Oct 5, 2007 - 9:59:04 AM

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"All 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 has not.
The Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe has also recommended an end to all weapons exports to the government in Yangon (Rangoon).
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 Vreme weekly.
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 the past.
"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 Myanmar-destined shipments.
"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.



Source:Ocnus.net 2007

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