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UAE companies suspected of violating UN arms embargo in Libya

Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's forces patrol through the streets of Libya [zdig1‏/Twitter]
Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's forces patrol through the streets of Libya [zdig1‏/Twitter]

Companies linked to the United Arab Emirates are suspected of violating the UN arms embargo on Libya by supplying fuel for combat use to the renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

Almost 11,000 tonnes of jet fuel, worth $5 million, was transported from the UAE and delivered to Benghazi, the headquarters of Haftar's military offensive against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya, according to documents seen by the Financial Times. The shipment is currently under investigation by UN experts, but indications are that it is in breach of the arms embargo agreed in February by world leaders at the UN Security Council.

Acting UN envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams told the FT that, in the UN's judgment, the jet fuel was considered to be "combat supplies". The shipment to eastern Libya could, therefore, constitute a violation of the embargo.

UN officials confirmed that the companies involved are registered in the UAE. However, investigations are ongoing to determine how the financial transactions were conducted and identify those behind them.

READ: UAE offers Assad $3bn to strike Turkey-backed troops in Syria

Libyan officials in Tripoli allege that the UAE had continued to fly munitions and military equipment to Haftar's forces despite an agreement among foreign powers to end all interference.

Despite efforts to quell the violence, the UAE has long been suspected of fuelling the Libyan civil war by putting its weight behind Haftar instead of the GNA. Last month the National Oil Corporation suspected the Emirates of sending aviation fuel to areas controlled by forces loyal to the renegade general.

In January, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the UAE of bankrolling and backing Russian mercenaries fighting in Libya alongside Haftar's forces. A month later, the UN's Williams warned against the ongoing violation of the arms embargo: "The arms embargo has become a joke. We all really need to step up here. It's complicated because there are violations by land, sea and air, but it needs to be monitored and there needs to be accountability."

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