The Sri Lankan government on Saturday rejected reports in a section of the British media that U.K. arms were used against civilians in the recent battle against the LTTE and asserted that the last shipment of arms from England to Sri Lanka was in 1996. The Presidential Secretariat said none of the three wings of the military had acquired military equipment from the U.K. during the Eelam War IV waged from August 2006 to May 2009.
“The army had not acquired armaments from the U.K. during the fourth phase of the conflict,’ Army Commander Jagath Jayasuriya told a select group of local and foreign journalists on Thursday.
A section of the British media on August 19 reported that a cross-party Committees of MPs on Arms Export Control called for an investigation into the weapons issue.
“The Sri Lanka Air Force and Sri Lanka Navy too on Thursday dismissed claims that Sri Lanka had received a ‘wide variety of weapons’ from the U.K. to finish off the Tigers,” said the Presidential Secretariat.
“Statements attributed to British parliamentarians were a joke as Sri Lanka had not acquired any ships, aircrafts, armoured fighting vehicles, armoured personnel carriers, artillery pieces, mortars or any other heavy or light equipment over the past several years. “The British had even declined to supply ammunition for 30 mm guns mounted on SLN’s Fast Attack Craft. Sri Lanka took delivery of ten 30 mm guns from the U.K. way back in 1996 along with 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Although the British had delivered 2,000 more rounds of ammunition to Sri Lanka later, they turned down subsequent requests for the same”, it said. In a report on August 19 under the headline “UK arms used against civilians in Sri Lanka and Gaza”, the online edition of Telegraph said, “Four House of Commons committees issued a joint report calling for tougher scrutiny of arms export licences following confirmation that UK weapons are still being used against civilian populations.
“Ministers confirmed to the MPs that British-built components were almost certainly used as part of Israeli weapons systems against the Palestinians in Gaza. The committees were also concerned that military equipment exported to Sri Lanka during a ceasefire between the government there and the Tamil Tigers may have been used once hostilities resumed in 2006”.