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NGO Wants Rosoboronexport Out of International Show

Jean-Marie Fardeau, director of Human Rights Watch's Paris office. JP. Ferre

A prominent international NGO is pressuring France to reconsider its decision to allow Russia's Rosoboronexport to participate in a major international arms show.

The trade show is called Eurosatory. It is organized under the auspices of the French Ministry of Defense and runs from June 11 to 15.

On Saturday, Human Rights Watch said Rosoboronexport's sales of weapons to Syria should give show organizers pause.

The organization has called on the United Nations Security Council to impose an arms embargo on Syria, and it has asked Rosoboronexport in particular to stop supplying arms to Syria.

Human Rights Watch says there is compelling evidence that the Syrian army is responsible for crimes against humanity.

The NGO has urged governments and companies around the world to stop signing new contracts with arms suppliers, such as Rosoboronexport, that supply weapons to Syria.

"France shouldn't have it both ways," said Jean-Marie Fardeau, France director for Human Rights Watch. "It can't be a leading voice calling for an end to grave violations in Syria and imposing an arms embargo while allowing Syria's main arms dealer to come to Paris to promote its weapons and land new deals."

Suppliers from 70 countries are expected to attend the show. Rosoboronexport, which is widely reported to be Syria's main weapons supplier, plans to have an extensive presence at Eurosatory, bringing 1,300 exhibitors.

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