Moscow, Paris argue on arms deliveries to Libya

15:03, July 02, 2011      

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with his visiting French counterpart Alain Juppe here on Friday, but the two argued on France's arms deliveries to Libya.

After their talks, Lavrov told reporters that France's supply of weapons to the Libyan opposition was "an unpleasant situation." Juppe said the move was for "self-defense" in line with the U.N. resolution concerning Libya.

Lavrov said that France's interpretation of the U.N. Security Council resolutions presented at their meeting "allows anyone to do anything for any reason."

"I think that we and Paris and other permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council should expect to receive documents that are clear," Lavrov said. "As we had warned in advance, now we have these very unpleasant situations when things can be interpreted in any number of ways."

In turn, Juppe insisted Paris' move was not a violation of the Security Council resolutions, but a protection of civilians from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

"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-defense were parachuted," Juppe said. "We informed our partners in NATO and the Security Council about these deliveries."

News of France's weapons deliveries to the Libyan rebels emerged in a report by Le Figaro newspaper on Wednesday. The report said the weapons included anti-tank rockets and light arms.

Russia has been critical of NATO-led military operations in Libya, saying airstrikes go beyond the Security Council resolution which mandated a no-fly zone over the North African country.

Source: Xinhua

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