Russia blocks plan to stop African states buying arms

Tony Blair is unlikely to even raise the issue at Gleneagles after Russia made clear it would block a firm commitment to such an international agreement being included in the summit declaration on Friday.

Pressure groups say Russia sells more arms to sub-Saharan Africa than any other G8 nation, with $700m (£360m) of sales between 2000 and 2003. That means Russia provides almost a quarter of all the arms bought by sub-Saharan countries. The US, the next biggest seller, sold $95m worth of arms to the region in the same period.

British government sources said yesterday the proposal for a binding treaty was not expected to be discussed at Gleneagles but would be "taken forward" by officials of the G8 nations after discussion by their foreign ministers last month. However, little progress is likely next year because Russia will take over the G8 presidency from Britain for 12 months in January.

One of the recommendations of the Commission for Africa set up by Mr Blair was for negotiations on an international arms treaty to be opened no later than next year. It said many of the largest manufacturers, exporters and brokers of arms to Africa were in G8 and EU countries, warning that loopholes in control agreements were being exploited by many countries, companies and arms brokers.

Jo Leadbeater, Oxfam's head of advocacy, said: "Whatever pledges are made on tackling poverty, they risk being undermined if the G8 leaders do not act decisively to regulate the arms trade. Arms control is a life-or-death matter for millions of people in developing countries and the G8 leaders must treat it as such. The G8 leaders must call for a legally binding arms trade treaty, which includes all conventional weapons. Anything less might salve the G8's consciences, but it will not save lives."

Campaign groups have accused G8 leaders of double standards, warning that selling billions of pounds of weapons to African nations takes vital resources away from projects on health, education, food and water and allows some regimes to repress their own people.

In a report last month, Oxfam, Amnesty International and other groups said Britain was the second biggest arms supplier to Africa as a whole with exports estimated at $4.3bn between 1996 and 2003, less than America's $15.18bn but more than other G8 nations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
people
News
A survey carried out by Sainsbury's Finance found 20% of new university students have never washed their own clothes, while 14% cannot even boil an egg
science...and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
News
politicsIs David Cameron trying to prove he's down with the kids?
News
Cumberbatch was speaking on US television when he made the comment (Getty)
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior PHP Developer - Zend Framework

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This number one supplier of Coo...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Forecast Analyst

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Forecast Analyst is required to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: We require a teacher of Science in this com...

Day In a Page

Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea