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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Tuesday, January 14, 2003
    Enjoy 'Lite weapons' legitimately with George W
    Following up yesterday's blog , it's heartening to hear today of the conference of exporters of small arms and light weapons taking place in London this week hosted by the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the International Development department.

    The initiative comes from a UN meeting in 2001, when the international community agreed on the need to control the supply of both legal and illegal exports of weapons. "Today's meeting brings together 60 nations to drive this agreement forward." Claire Short said.

    Some reservations, however, about the frame of reference of their discussion. Foreign Office Minister Mike O'Brien said, "This meeting can make a positive contribution to the launch of the global work needed to tighten controls on small arms, so that they only go to those with a legitimate use for them."
Well, I want to ask, who on earth has a 'legitimate use' for these weapons? Anyone? And if those questions are too removed from the realm of realpolitic then here's another - who decides who's legitimate and who isn't? We know the answer to that - the most-armed President on earth...

Read what the Campaign Against the Arms Trade says about the Labour Party's "Britain in the World" consultation document on UK military exports.