US Missiles Found in Libyan Rebel Camp Were First Sold to France


They were recovered on June 26 by Libyan government forces during a raid on a rebel camp in Gheryan, a town in the mountains south of Tripoli.

However last week the UAE denied ownership of the weapons saying that Abu Dhabi is committed to the UN Security Council's arms embargo in Libya - which has been in place since 2011. It would also put Washington at odds over Libya policy with France, a staunch North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner and ally in other hot spots like West Africa...

He said a French military unit had controlled the missiles in Libya for "counter-terrorism operations".

"Damaged and unusable, the armaments were being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction", the ministry said in a statement.

Three of them, as well Chinese-made shells bearing the markings of the the United Arab Emirates (UAE), were shown off to journalists including AFP reporters on June 29.

Gen Haftar's forces are now combating for control of the metropolis.

France still has special forces in Libya, although it remains unclear how many troops are actually deployed.

On 4 April he launched an offensive on the Libyan capital seeking to overthrow the government of the prime minister, Fayez al-Sarraj.

Gen Haftar's LNA has long had the make stronger of Egypt and the UAE, however now additionally counts Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia amongst his backers.

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In May, it posted pictures showing the arrival of Turkish BMC Kirpi armoured vehicles at Tripoli port.

President Emmanuel Macron used to be the first Western leader to invite him to Europe for peace talks, and France launched air strikes in toughen of Gen Haftar's forces in February.

France's role has caused tensions.

He invited Haftar along with Sarraj to a peace conference in Paris in 2017 which was seen as giving the rebel commander global legitimacy for the first time.

Before the latest discoveries, United Nations experts were investigating so-called Chinese Blue Arrow missiles fired from a Chinese drone in a suburb of Tripoli in April that experts suspect were supplied by the UAE.

The GNA discovered the missiles when it overran the pro-Haftar base in Gharyan, located about 60 miles south of Tripoli.

This was dismissed as "fake news" by the French embassy in Tripoli.

Haftar's foreign supporters believe the warlord can bring stability to Libya and defeat the jihadi groups that have taken root in the North African country, which has descended into chaos since the US -backed overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.