Friday, July 1, 2011

Russia: France breaches Libya arms ban

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

Source: Press TV

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has blasted France for violating a UN arms embargo on Libya by air-dropping weapons to revolutionary forces earlier this month.

"We asked our French colleagues today whether reports that weapons from France were delivered to Libyan rebels correspond with reality," Lavrov said on Thursday.

"If this is confirmed, it is a very crude violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1970," Reuters quoted Lavrov as saying.

The UN 1970 resolution, adopted in February 26, imposed a comprehensive arms embargo on Libya.

However, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1973 on March 17, which authorized all necessary measures to “protect civilians and civilians populated areas under threat of attack” in Libya.

French ambassador to the United Nations Gerard Araud claimed Wednesday that the arms drop in the Misrata and the Nafusa Mountains aims to protect civilians from an imminent attack by Gaddafi's forces and therefore is not in violation of the UN-sanctioned arms embargo.

France is the first NATO country that has openly acknowledged arms drop in Libya.

Russia is among the countries warning that the Libya war is going beyond the UN mandate and criticizing the extent of the international involvement.

However, it seems that NATO has turned a blind eye on the framework defined in the resolution by carrying out attacks on civilian areas of Libyan cities, including the capital Tripoli, killing scores of civilians, including children.

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