Mon, Dec 24, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Turkey vows to probe Libya arms shipment


Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu during a visit to Libya on Saturday announced an investigation into a shipment of arms smuggled from his country to the conflict-hit North African nation.

Libyan officials on Thursday last week said that two containers of arms and munitions disguised as construction materials had been seized at the western port of Khoms.

Rival administrations in Libya demanded an explanation as the UN mission in the country called the reports of the large shipment “extremely disconcerting” and said that it expected UN experts to investigate.

“We are going to take firm measures on this subject,” Cavusoglu said in translated comments at a news conference with his Libyan counterpart in Tripoli. “We are starting an investigation to determine how the arms were loaded into containers and how they entered Libya.”


Libya has been subject to a UN arms embargo since it plunged into chaos amid the 2011 uprising that ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The country is divided between an internationally backed government based in Tripoli and a rival authority under Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the east.

UN experts have documented deliveries of weapons from destinations including Sudan, Egypt, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, despite the ban on weapons imports.

Tripoli-based Government of National Accord Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj expressed his “profound concern” over the latest shipment in a statement after meeting Cavusoglu.

The statement said that Turkey had denied any official links to delivery and the two sides would probe the matter jointly.

The Haftar camp regularly accuses Turkey and Qatar of militarily and financially backing his rivals, including Muslim militants.

Cavusoglu said that unnamed Western and Arab countries have sent “tanks, missiles and drones” to Libya, in apparent reference to alleged outside support for Haftar.

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