Export licence suspended forTanzania arms factory firm
25 March 2005
BRUSSELS – The Walloon government has suspended an export licence granted to a Liege firm that intends to help build a controversial weapons factory in Tanzania.
The Walloon authorities took the decision to allow further investigations into whether the factory could damage the fragile peace process in the Great Lakes region of Africa.
Federal Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht has made it clear on numerous occasions that he feels the decision to allow the Liege firm, New Lachaussee, to help build the factory could damage Belgium’s efforts to shore up a shaky peace in Tanzania’s neighbour, the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Leading Walloon politicians say that freezing the licence will allow them to clarify a number of key questions about the planed factory.
In particular they want confirmation that any weapons made at the plant will only be available to the Tanzanian police and army and will not find their way onto the open market.
They also want assurances that the factory will remain under Tanzanian government control and will not be privatised.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news