'The United Nations is probing allegations that the United Arab Emirates shipped weapons to support a Libyan warlord’s factions, in violation of an international arms embargo, a key official told The Independent.
The UN has been investigating numerous allegations of arms shipments to either of the two sides in the years-long Libyan conflict.
But coming under particular scrutiny by international officials and Libya experts are allegations that the UAE, an ally of the UK, US, and France, shipped weapons to Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar even after the self-styled field marshal declared the head of the UN-backed authority in Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj, a “terrorist” and issued a warrant for his arrest and other civilian officials.
“We’re tracking reports of all kinds of weapons or systems coming in. We have seen multiple reports of weapons flowing in,” Stephanie Williams, the deputy head of the UN mission to Libya, said in an interview from Tripoli on Monday. “We are extremely concerned about this. This is not the kind of escalation we need. We need to minimise this.”
The vast oil-rich north African nation has been crippled by violent civil strife since the 2011 Nato-backed downfall of Muammar Gaddafi’s long-time dictatorship. Two loose alliances dominate the country: a collection of eastern militias led by Mr Haftar under the umbrella of the Libyan National Army, and a UN-backed Government of National Accord anchored in Tripoli.
Mr Haftar launched a surprise attack on Tripoli on 4 April after making quick gains against militias ruling the country’s lawless south. But his offensive on the capital has united powerful rival militias across western Libya, and gains have been minimal.
Ms Williams, a former US diplomat, said a UN panel of experts is investigating claims that the UAE shipped a planeload of weapons to support Mr Haftar’s forces in eastern Libya on Friday, as well as other claims of weapons being sent to western Libyan forces that are fighting to defend the capital against his 12-day offensive.'
Read more: Western allies add fuel to Libya's fire with alleged military shipments to warlord
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