Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

France

France under fire for arming rebels

©

Video by Nicholas RUSHWORTH

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2011-07-03

France and Russia have held a high level diplomatic meeting after the French army admitted it was secretly arming Libyan rebels, a move Moscow says violates current UN Resolutions.

After helping rebel forces advance their positions in Libya, France has had to fend off criticism from Russia.

Under pressure from Moscow, French Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Juppe clearly stated on Friday that the country had informed NATO partners and the Security Council about the delivery of weapons and ammunition to forces at war with the regime of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

The following countries have recognised the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) as Libya’s sole and legitimate representative since the beginning of the conflict on February 15 2011.

•    France – 10 March
•    Qatar – 28 March
•    Maldives – 3 April
•    Italy – 4 April
•    Kuwait – 4 April
•    Gambia– 22 April
•    United Kingdom– 12 May
•    Jordan – 24 May
•    Senegal – 28 May
•    Malta – 1 June
•    Spain – 8 June
•    Australia – 9 June
•    United States – 9 June
•    UAE– 12 June
•    Germany – 13 June
•    Canada – 14 June
•    Panama – 14 June
•    Austria – 18 June
•    Turkey – 3 July
•    Denmark – 22 June
•    Poland – 7 July
•    Benelux – 13 July
•    Portugal – 19 July
•   Montenegro – 21 July
•   Gabon – 12 August
•   Tunisia – 21 August
 

 

 

"We believe that within the frameworks of [UN Security Council] Resolutions 1970 and 1973 -- and 1970 as a whole -- it is clear that all means are legitimate for protecting peaceful civilians," Juppe said on Friday in France’s defense.

Is the arms drop legal?

Russian officials called into question the legality of the action under a current UN-approved mandate for Western intervention in the oil-rich North African country. Juppe met with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Friday and admitted there were disagreements between the two countries.

"Civilians had been attacked by Gaddafi’s forces and were in an extremely vulnerable situation and that is why medicine, food and also weapons of self-defence were parachuted in," Juppe told France Info radio on Thursday. Juppe also insisted that the air dropping of arms and ammunition fell in line with the mission to defend rebels and protect civilians.

A handful of countries, including NATO allies Italy and Great Britain, have previously warned against using the cover of the UN mandate to provide rebels with arms, saying more guns would put civilians at greater risk and could fall into the hands of anti-Western jihadists.

“Formally [the arms drop] is not a violation of the UN resolutions, but each person can interpret the spirit of the text differently”, said Pierre Conesa, a former French defense ministry official and a professor at the Science Po University in Paris.

Resolution 1970, which the UN passed in February of this year, prohibited states from giving any kind of arms to Libya. Resolution 1973, approved in March, authorised nations "to take all necessary measures” to help protect civilians. Russia abstained from the second vote.

Libyan rebel make progress due to French arms

French daily Le Figaro first reported on Thursday that Libyan rebels have made progress against Gaddafi’s forces to the south of the capital of Tripoli – thanks to an important quantity of arms and ammunition that France parachuted into that region since the beginning of June.

The Associated Press news agency confirmed Le Figaro’s story with the French Army on Thursday.

Lavrov said that France's interpretation of the resolutions presented at Friday's meeting "allows anyone to do anything for any reason".

"It was precisely this paragraph that caused us problems," said Lavrov referring to Russia's abstention from the UN vote in March.

Professor Conesa said it was unlikely Resolution 1973 would be changed over the diplomatic differences between Paris and Moscow, and defended France and NATO’s military action in Libya.

“The Arab League and the African Union have shown themselves incapable of offering a solution to the crisis in Libya. The UN Resolution is the only thing keeping civilians from being massacred,” Conesa said.


 

Date created : 2011-07-01

  • FRANCE - LIBYA

    French military air-dropped arms to Libya rebels

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    African leaders to seek solution to Libyan crisis at summit

    Read more

  • LIBYA

    Regime rejects international arrest warrant for Gaddafi

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)