Lloyd Russell-Moyle


26 April 2018

Priority Markets

In July 2014, in an effort to pre-empt embarrassing revelations that might emerge from the UN’s decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, the British foreign secretary made a tactical confession. Between 1983 and 1986, Britain had approved sales of chemical weapons precursors to Syria, which was known to be developing a massive weapons programme. William Hague told Parliament that the chemicals were probably ‘used by Syria in their programmes to produce nerve agents, including sarin’. ‘Such exports could not happen today,’ he said. In March 2015, the Committees on Arms Export Controls said that ‘the decision of the present government to give two export licence approvals for dual-use chemicals to Syria in January 2012 after the civil war had started in Syria in 2011 was irresponsible,’ and that ‘the present government’s claim that at the time the two dual-use chemical export licences for sodium fluoride and potassium fluoride to Syria were approved in January 2012 “there were no grounds for refusal” is grossly inaccurate.’