17.12.04

More bang for your crown

ČTK and ČT1 reported yesterday on the release of the National Report on the Control of Arms Exports. (The Foreign Ministry posts the report here, god love ’em.)

Representatives of Amnesty International and Transparency International pointed out that the country violates EU codes by exporting weapons to human rights abusers. ČTK has Barbora Pechotova of TI singling out Colombia, Georgia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka; ČT1 draws attention to Czech arms exports to Algeria, Columbia, Congo, Indonesia and, erm, Israel. Deputy Foreign Minister Jan Winkler said that the arms export process is thoroughly vetted, but that was really hard – like math is hard – to make sure more-or-less legitimate buyers in, say, Colombia don’t turn around and sell the guns to, say, paramilitaries.

The Czech Republic used to export more military material than it imported, but that changed in 1999 – the year the country joined NATO and started kicking tires on (sing along with Nena) super high-tech jet fighters. In 1993, the Czechs imported EUR 37 million in material; last year, they imported more than EUR 120 million.

In 2003, the Czechs sold EUR 82.9 million worth of bang – mainly light arms like the Skorpion. ČTK says the countries interested in such weapons include Bulgaria, Indonesia, and 'Arab and Latin American countries'.

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