Peace organisation: Finland exports arms to belligerent states
According to a report published on Thursday by the Finnish peace organisation Sadankomitea (”Committee of 100”), Finland also exports arms and ammunition to belligerent states, while sometimes the ultimate destination of the weapons is not even known for sure.
When it comes to conflict areas, particularly the export of war materiel to the Middle East has been on the increase.
The committee’s report covered the period from 1998 through 2007, during which Finland’s arms exports increased by 40 per cent.
The total value of implemented weapon deals was EUR 375 million.
The largest amounts of military equipment are exported from Finland to the European Union area.
More than half of the Finnish arms exports have gone to Sweden and Poland.
Among individual arms export products, the most significant ones are armoured vehicles and spare parts for them.
In addition to actual war supplies, Finland also exports weapons, ammunition, and equipment for civilian use.
According to the Sadankomitea report, it is difficult to make a difference between war materiel and civilian supplies. When assembling high-tech weapons, it is also possible to use equipment meant for civilian use.
At a press conference organised by Sadankomitea, Sanna Poutiainen, an expert from the Ministry of Defence, said that the export licence applications for weapons submitted by Finnish enterprises are considered on a case-by-case basis.
When considering an export licence, things to take into account include for example the destination and the type of the munitions in question.
”In order that the exported war supplies will end up into the right hands, the applicant has to be able to produce an end-user statement”, says Poutiainen.
Following certain amendments to EU directives, an extensive arms export reform is also currently under way.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish role in arms shipments to Sierra Leone emerges at trial of Liberian ex-leader (8.1.2008)
No charges against businessman Fryckman and Iraqi architect over arms export affair (25.10.2005)
Finnish Police investigate possible arms exports to Iraq (22.1.2003)