EU Sold Millions in Weapons to Sri Lankan Army

European arms may have been used in civil war atrocities
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2009 5:53 AM CDT
EU Sold Millions in Weapons to Sri Lankan Army
Tamil civilians stand in line to collect water in the Manik Farm refugee camp located on the outskirts of the northern Sri Lankan town of Vavuniya Tuesday, May 26, 2009.   (AP Photo/David Gray, Pool)

European Union nations sold millions of dollars worth of arms and military equipment to the Sri Lankan army in the final stages of its 26-year civil war, in which the army has been accused of atrocities. The UK sold the country $22.3 million in armored vehicles and weapons, though by 2008 it had suspended military aid and sales amid concerns about human rights abuses. It remains unclear whether EU weapons were used in the final massacres of the war, in which 20,000 civilians were killed.

Slovakia, for its part, sold 10,000 rockets to the Sri Lankan army, a decision that other EU states question. Slovakia insists that its rocket deal with Sri Lanka was justified, noting that the Tamil Tigers are designated a terrorist group by the EU. But the bloc's code of conduct for arms exports forbids weapons dealing to countries with internal conflicts, poor records on human rights, or a history of violating international law.
(More Sri Lanka stories.)

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