Weapons ship shows need for tougher arms control says MSP

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By a Newsnet reporter
 
The halting of a ship reported to be carrying arms to Syria has led to calls for tougher international controls on arms that are bound for countries engaged in the violent repression of their population.
 
The Assad regime is engaged in a brutal campaign of violence against its own people, something which has been condemned utterly by the Scottish Government.

By a Newsnet reporter
 
The halting of a ship reported to be carrying arms to Syria has led to calls for tougher international controls on arms that are bound for countries engaged in the violent repression of their population.
 
The Assad regime is engaged in a brutal campaign of violence against its own people, something which has been condemned utterly by the Scottish Government.

Earlier this year, SNP MSP Jim Eadie secured a member’s debate in the Scottish Parliament on the ongoing situation in Syria which condemned the continuing violence in the country.

Amnesty International has said that the UN Security Council must refer Syria to the International Criminal Court over the actions taking place in the country.

Commenting after the MV Alaed which is believed to be carrying Russian-made attack helicopters bound for Syria was halted off the coast of Scotland, Mr Eadie said:

“The trade in arms to countries that are engaged in the slaughter of their own civilians is utterly beyond the pale. The destruction and brutality being carried out in Syria is simply appalling.

“This latest incident only underlines the need for effective international arms control, so that weapons can be prevented from reaching countries where they will be used against civilians.

“We are clear that the six point plan outlined by Kofi Annan should be implemented immediately and the armed violence must be brought to an end.

“The international community owes it to the people of Syria to stop weapons systems like these reaching that country.  More effective arms control is urgently needed and the cost of inaction doesn’t bear thinking about.”

The MV Alaed was stopped near to the Outer Hebrides on Monday after reports suggested it was carrying arms for Syria.

Suspicions that the ship was carrying weapons were raised last Tuesday by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  The ship was reported to have been trying to avoid EU waters – the Dutch and Danes were also trying to track it.

Its insurer, the Standard Club, immediately withdrew cover for the ship once UK authorities informed it of allegations that the ship was carrying munitions bound for President Bashr al-Assad’s regime.

The London based firm also withdrew insurance cover for seven other ships owned by the Russian shipping firm Femco.

Reports indicate that the ship has now apparently changed course and is currently heading back towards Russia.