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UAE accused of violating UN arms embargo on Libya

June 12, 2017 at 4:17 pm

UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Libya’s Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar, 11 April 2017 []

A new United Nations (UN) report has found that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has violated the UN arms embargo on Libya by providing attack helicopters, attack aircrafts and armoured vehicles to forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The panel of experts which reports on violations of UN sanctions across Libya said Haftar’s forces had received aircraft as well as military vehicles from the United Arab Emirates, and had built up an air base at Al Khadim.

The annual UN report, which is due to be published in the coming days, documents the transfer of arms to parties in the on-going Libyan conflict in breach of a UN resolution.

The panel said it had confirmed a delivery of 93 armoured personnel carriers and 549 armoured and non-armoured vehicles to the Libyan National Army (LNA) in the eastern city of Tobruk in April 2016. The personnel carriers likely included Panther T6 and Tygra models, both made by companies based in the UAE, the report said, and were delivered by ship from Saudi Arabia.

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It said it had received information on further large deliveries of Toyota pick-up trucks and armoured 4×4 cars to Tobruk in January and April 2017 on a ship that had passed through Port Said in Egypt.

Libya has been under an arms embargo since the 2011 uprising that drove then-leader Muammar Gaddafi from power, but the UN report details a “general increase in direct foreign support to armed factions in Libya”.

With three would-be governments in Libya and countless regional and local autonomous groups, the UN embargo was intended to prevent foreign powers from coming in and arming their favourite factions, and turning an already unstable situation in Libya into a major war.

Yet both Egypt and the UAE have publicly favoured Haftar, who is now publicly affiliated with the Tobruk parliament. The arms have been used by Haftar’s forces during attacks on rival governments.