Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library

Alpers, Philip and Conor Twyford. 2003 ‘Pacific Shenanigans.’ Small Arms in the Pacific; Occasional Paper No. 8, p. 8. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 31 March

Relevant contents

One significant and controversial sale to the Pacific involved a USD 4 million arms deal that took place in mid-1997 between US arms supplier Century Arms Pty Ltd and the then Solomon Islands government. The purchase was understood to have been prompted by the deteriorating situation on the Solomon Islands' border with Bougainville.

Australia, worried about the potential impact that the arms shipment might have on the Bougainville peace process, had refused two previous requests for arms by the Solomon Islands government. Three export licences were eventually granted by the United States, on the understanding that the arms would only be used for patrol purposes.

It was widely suspected that corruption had been involved in the deal, since independent assessments put the value of the military equipment included in the shipment, including M-16s, ammunition, and two light aircraft, at USD 700,000 to USD 1 million, a much smaller sum than the USD 4 million paid to Century Arms.

In early 1998, the shipment was diverted from its course to the Solomons, and at the request of the newly elected Ulufa'alu government, impounded by Australia and New Zealand. Five years later in 2003, they were still impounded.

Sources cited:

O'Callaghan (1998a, p. 3; 1998b, p. 37)

ID: Q563

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