Libya’s Tripoli government asks France to explain presence of French arms with Hafter’s forces
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 16 July 2019:
Libya’s Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Tripoli Government of National Accord, Mohamed Saila, last week called on his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, to clarify the mechanism by which the French weapons found in Gharian came to be in the possession of Khalifa Haftar’s forces, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs also asked when these weapons were shipped, how they were delivered, and the size of the weapons’ shipment.
The Tripoli internationally-recognized Government said that the existence of these weapons in Libya is contrary to what the French Government has stated in international forums and bilateral meetings by supporting the Government of National Accord as the internationally recognized government.
The Tripoli Libyan Foreign Ministry stated that the French Foreign Ministry has informed the Libyan Embassy in Paris that the issue of French weapons in Libya is a matter for the French Army Ministry.
It will be recalled that France had last week admitted that it is the owner of American-made anti-tank missiles found at the Gharian base used by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army as part of its assault on Tripoli.
The French Army Ministry said that the Javelin anti-tank guided missiles were for the “self-protection of a French military unit deployed to carry out intelligence and counter-terrorism operations” and never intended for sale or transfer to any party to Libya’s conflict.
“Damaged and unusable, the armaments were being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction,” the ministry had said in a statement.
Implicit in the French statement is the acknowledged that France still has special forces deployed in Libya.