Serbia’s outgoing Trade Minister Rasim Ljajic said on Tuesday that the weapons exported to Armenia by a private company which had permits from four ministries, including his own, and the country’s top civilian intelligence and security agency the BIA.
Ljajic’s comments came after the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry expressed disappointment following claims that large quantities of weapons, including mortars, were exported to Armenia and used to attack Azerbaijani police on the two countries’ border. Foreign Minister Kalaf Kalafov is reported to have informed Serbian Ambassador Danica Veinovic, telling her that the allegations “cast doubts on the two countries’ friendly relations and cooperation”.
“Arms were exported to Armenia in 2020 by a private company, state-owned companies had no part in that. I can’t name the company but we know that it exported mainly rifles and pistols worth less than a million Euro in two shipments in May and June,” Ljajic told the Nova.rs portal. He explained that the final export permit comes from the Trade Ministry but that the Foreign, Internal Affairs and Defense Ministries have to give their approval first as well as the BIA.
“Every one of them gives their view and only once the four of them have approved can we issue an export permit,” he said and added that there are no European Union, EU, US or Russian sanctions imposed on Armenia making it hard to refuse requests from that country.