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news 13 Jul 16

Montenegro Earns More Cash From Arms Sales

The latest report on the arms trade in Montenegro shows that the value of exports has risen significantly in recent years.  

Dusica Tomovic
BIRN
Podgorica
Photo: UNDP Europe/ Twitter.

Montenegro’s annual national report on the weapons trade says the country exported arms worth around 11.3 million euros over the last year, an almost 100-per-cent increase in value in comparison to previous years.

The Ministry of the Economy’s report for 2015, which BIRN has seen, contains information on each export licence issued, giving a description of the goods, the number of items involved and the total value.

The list of countries to which Montenegro sold weapons contains 23 countries, including Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria and Ukraine.

“The highest earnings from sold weapons is from Bangladesh - about 3.03 million euros,” the report notes.

Montenegro exported ammunition and fuses for munitions, aviation equipment for military use, rockets, other explosive devices and naval equipment.

When it comes to imports of military equipment, Montenegro bought arms worth about 17.8 million euros - compared to 4.5 million euros in 2013 - mostly from Israel - about 11.8 million euros.

Over the last year, companies from Montenegro also bought weapons from Serbia and Macedonia, mostly ammunition and electronic equipment for military use.

The 2015 report said 39 companies are registered to trade in controlled goods in Montenegro, two more than in 2014; 191 export-import licences were issued last year.

The largest arms importer-exporter is the Montenegro Defence Industry, MDI. The former state-owned company was sold to the Belgrade-based CPR Impex and Israel's ATL Atlantic Technology Ltd for 680,000 euros in 2015.  

In 2009 and 2012, the MDI was accused of illegally exporting arms to Libya and Syria. The company denied the claims.

In May 2015, the anti-corruption watchdog MANS filed criminal charges against Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic following an investigation by BIRN into the sale of the arms exporter.

Following the accusations of making illegal arms sales to Libya and Syria, Montenegro tightened its law in this field in June as part of its accession negotiations with the EU in the arena of rule of law and security.

Montenegro is now committed to further monitoring the end-users of sold weapons and other military goods, and must respect embargos imposed by the UN, OSCE and the EU.

The BIRN investigation revealed that the government sold the firm to a consortium linked to Belgian businessmen Serge Muller, a figure embroiled in criminal investigations into drug smuggling, money laundering and arms trafficking.

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