The Foreign Minister says that he has no information.
Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria in 2012, four countries have been actively acquiring weapons that are later delivered to their allies in Syria and Yemen – these are Saudi Arabia, Jordan, United Arab Emirates and Turkey, reports Večernji List on July 28, 2016.
During the same period, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia and Romania exported weapons and ammunition worth as much as 1.2 billion euros. The largest part of that amount, worth 829 million euros, has been contracted with Saudi Arabia.
The information was presented by journalists working for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The countries from which the weapons were exported have allowed the realization of these initiatives although there was sufficient evidence that Syria was the actual final destination of the transactions, and that the weapons were being used to arm forces of Syrian opposition and various Islamist groups, some of which have committed serious crimes, according to the reports.
The EU member states are obliged to respect a common platform for the export of arms which was adopted in 2008. The countries are required to take into account eight criteria for the issuance of permits and licenses for the export of weapons, such as whether the final user respects human rights, whether it threatens regional security, and if there is a risk that weapons could be forwarded to a third party, write BIRN and OCCRP.
The head of Weapons Export Licensing Department of the Ministry of Defence Darko Kihalić told BIRN and OCCRP that Croatia could do little after it checks the certificate on the end user. “Saudi Arabia is not on the list of banned countries for exports. Are there abuses? Probably”, said Kihalić.
Croatian Foreign Minister Miro Kovač said on Wednesday that he had “no particular information about the issue”, adding that he would check what it was all about.