British MP Raises Issue of Protecting Christians in Egypt with FCO.

I’ve just received a very positive response from Dr William McCrea, MP for South Antrim,  saying that he regards the protection of Christians in Egypt a “very important matter.”

He writes “I am currently in correspondence with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in relation to the concerns that you  have expressed in regards to this very important matter and when I receive a response I will forward the necessary information to yourself.

I’m waiting eagerly for futher news and will post it here whenever I hear anything.

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“Completely Unacceptable.” Arms Committe MP Blows The Whistle On Export of Weapons to Egypt

In a letter just received, a key member of the Select Committee on Arms Exports says the  export of weapons to Egypt is “completely unacceptable” and that she “will campaign in Parliament for this to be stopped.”

Katy Klark, Labour MP for North Ayrshire and Arran and a key member of Parliament’s Select Committee on Arms Exports, writes

“I share your concerns at the current situation in Egypt and agree that the Government should be taking robust measures to stop the sale of arms from UK companies to repressive regimes.  I believe there is a strong possibility of arms sold to the Egyptian regime being used against their own people and believe it is completely unacceptable that licences for export to Egypt are being granted and I will campaign in Parliament for this to be stopped.”

Commenting on the situation involving tear gas exports by Federal Laboratories (owned by the British multinational BAE Systems)  in the U.S. to Egypt she writes

“In addition there do appear to be loopholes for subsidiary companies based overseas.  I would be happy to look into whether there is any way in which these can be closed.”

Britain Admits It Has been Supplying Arms To Egypt Suitable for Internal Repression.

In a letter dated 26 April 2012 and received by me on 3 May, Sir John Stanley MP,  Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Arms Control,  provided a list of UK British arms exports to Egypt during 2009 and 2010 which could be used for Internal Repression.

He also added that he anticipated the Parliament would submit another report, presumably with information on more recent arms exports to Egypt, before its’ summer recess on 27 July.   The list of arms supplied during 2009 and 2010 is in the public domain but still makes for interesting reading.

According to the information he attached with his letter,  British arms exports to Egypt during the period from 1 January 2009 until 30 September 2010 included the following

Training small arms ammunition                                                                                      general purpose machine guns                                                                                               imaging cameras                                                                                                                     components for armoured personnel carriers                                                                unfinished products for grenade launchers                                                                             components for submachine guns                                                                               electronic warfare equipment                                                                                          equipment for the operation of military aircraft in confined areas                                           components for semi-automatic pistols                                                                     unfinished products for armoured fighting vehicles                                                  unfinished products for weapon night sights

The list is not especially helpful in that it is vague as to for instance what type of training ammunition was exported and on the quantities of material.

In an apparent attempt to avoid answering questions about the wisdom of such exports, Sir John writes “It is a firm convention in the House of Commons that MPs deal with their own constituents.  I am therefore sending your letter……to your own MP Julian Brazier.”

He adds that “The issue of the UK Government’s policy on giving arms export licence approvals for weapons and other goods that can be used for internal repression has received detailed scrutiny in the Committee’s current inquiry on which I anticipate we shall be submitting a further Report to the House of Commons before the summer recess.”