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UAE violates embargo and sends arms to Libya’s Haftar, says UN

June 9, 2017 at 11:23 am

The UN has revealed that the UAE has violated the arms embargo imposed on the rival parties in Libya. A report by the UN Sanctions Committee, snippets of which were tweeted by Al-Jazeera, accuses the UAE of providing military aid to the forces led by renegade General Khalifa Haftar. The committee also noted that the arms supplied by the UAE escalated the number of victims of violence in Libya.

The UN report follows last year’s revelation by a British website specialising in military affairs that the UAE had established an advanced military base in the city of Marj, 100 km east of Benghazi. It was pointed out that AT-802 attack jets and drones take off from the base. Aircraft from the UAE use the base at Al-Khadim Airport in support of those fighting against “Islamists” in Libya; Haftar’s forces are the main beneficiaries.

Haftar himself visited the UAE on 10 April and met with Mohammed Bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.

Read: UAE praises Haftar’s fight against the ‘disease’ of terrorism

Support from the Emirates for Haftar’s forces was confirmed a few weeks ago when Aguila Saleh, the Speaker of the Tobruk parliament — which is not recognised by the international community — openly admitted as much for the first time. “There has been great support for the army,” he told Libyan News. “The army started with 300 cars and each car cost $47,000. We went to the UAE to request support and the Libyans must remember to tell their children that the UAE stood by us like brothers and friends.”

Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed told Saleh, “What’s ours is yours,” he claimed. “They [the UAE] have always supported us, despite international pressures.”

Over the past few years, there have been several press reports quoting informed sources and accusations from Libyan and international parties regarding the UAE’s major role, led by the crown prince, in backing Haftar’s troops and participating in some military operations against Libyan rebels. According to observers, this has aggravated the political crisis in Libya.