Leaked Emirati emails have shed light on the extent of the UAE’s involvement in Libya over the summer, the New York Times revealed.
The emails show weapons were shipped to rival factions in direct violation of the international arms embargo and threatening to undermine months of talks fronted by United Nations mediator, Bernardino Leon.
While Leon was drafting the agreement for a peace accord, the emails show, the UAE was busy attempting to hire him as the $50,000-a-month director general of the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, details of which were not made privy to the Libyan parties involved in the talks.
The leak also indicate how the UN was made aware of the conflict of interest; Jeffrey Feltman, undersecretary general for political affairs and a former American diplomat, wrote to senior Emirati leaders asking for Leon to stay on as mediator for a while longer for the sake of reaching an agreement in Libya.
The UAE has launched many campaigns against Islamist movements in the region as well as supporting leaders including Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi in Egypt and groups which fight Islamists.
The emails show US officials had been complaining that the Emiratis had violated international missile control agreements by sending Egypt surveillance drones.
Such a transfer “would trigger mandatory sanctions review under U.S. law, which could result in sanctions against UAE entities,” the emails say.
Other documents showed some Emirati officials were worried following US complaints that a UAE company was violating international sanctions by buying $100 million in weapons from North Korea.
Emirati Ambassador to Washington Yousef Al-Otaiba was subsequently summoned to the State Department on numerous occassions.