UK tightens arms export controls after Arab Spring

October 13, 2011 22:40


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LONDON - Britain will tighten its arms export rules so it can swiftly halt sales of weapons, ammunition and tear gas to countries where there has been a sharp deterioration in security, the government said on Thursday.

The move is a response to criticism during the Arab Spring uprisings that Britain had recently approved the export of crowd control equipment that could have been used against demonstrators in countries such as Libya and Bahrain.

British Prime Minister David Cameron faced censure for a trip in February to the Gulf on which he was joined by executives from defense companies and other businesses.

"We will introduce a new mechanism to allow ministers to respond more rapidly and decisively to the outbreak of conflict or to unpredictable events like the Arab Spring, by suspending licensing," Foreign Secretary William Hague told parliament.

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