Iran, most Arab states refuse to report arms deals to UN

Monday, October 13, 2003

Iran and the lion's share of Arab countries have refused to report weapons deals to the United Nations.

The entire Arab League, with the exception of Jordan and Lebanon, did not reply to the UN Register of Convention Arms for 2002. Jordan reported imports of weapons and Lebanon did not report any arms transactions.

Only Greece and Turkey in the region reported the size and composition of their militaries and weaponry.

Israel, Greece and Turkey reported both imports and exports to the UN. Israel reported the sale of 18 large-caliber artillery systems to Uganda and 30 AGM-142 Popeye missile to Turkey, Middle East Newsline reported. Turkey also exported 80 combat vehicles to Malaysia.

Israel also reported the transfer of four 120 mm mortars to the United States. Israel also imported 54 M113 armored personnel carriers from the United States.

Jordan said it received 88 Challenger-1 main battle tanks from Britain in 2002. Amman said it imported 10 MITES launchers and 100 missiles from Jordan.

The UN asked each of its members to list acquisition or exports of main battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and launchers. The missile category includes unmanned air vehicles but not surface-to-air missiles.

Since 1997, not one North African country has reported arms transfers to the register. The report classifies five countries as those belonging to North Africa and said reporting from countries on the continent were lowest for any region.

In the rest of the Middle East, termed "West Asia," the report asserted that no more than three countries Israel, Greece and Turkey have cooperated with the UN register over the last decade. Only 28 out of 54 countries in Asia reported arms transfers to the UN.

The UN Group of Governmental Experts agreed to revise two of the seven categories of conventional arms covered by the register. They comprised the lowering of the reporting threshold for large-caliber artillery systems and include man-portable air-defense systems in the register under the category of missiles and missile launchers.

"This would contribute to broad-based international efforts to stem illicit transfers, particularly in preventing these short-range ground-to-air systems from falling into the hands of terrorists," the report said.

The UN group, which included an Israeli Foreign Ministry official Alon Bar, could not decide on proposals to raise the reporting status of procurement through national production and military holdings. The members said they would discuss this issue for the next review.

The report said main battle tanks were undergoing a change. The two trends producing tanks with higher tonnage and gun caliber as well as using new technologies to develop lighter tanks, although not less than 16.5 metric tons.

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