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France says Javelin missiles found in Libya were 'unusable': army ministry

11 July 2019

France broadly supports Haftar, regarding his forces as helpful in the fight against Islamist militants.

Libyan government forces said they recovered the missiles during a raid on a rebel camp in Gheryan, just south of Tripoli.

The French military said Javelin missiles found in a rebel base in Libya were purchased by the French government from the United States but never intended for sale or transfer to any party.

Confirming a report in the New York Times, a defense ministry statement said the USA -made Javelin missiles discovered in June at a camp south of Tripoli had been purchased by France.

Three of them were shown to journalists on 29 June alongside Chinese-made shells bearing the markings of the United Arab Emirates.

France has denied breaching a United Nations hands embargo after four of its anti-tank missiles were found on a unsuitable accurate to a rogue Libyan frequent.

"These weapons were for the protection of forces mission intelligence and counter-dismay missions", the defence ministry commentary talked about.

The newspaper, citing an Egyptian source, said agreements have been signed-in recent days with African militias from countries neighbouring Sudan to take part in Haftar's operation to capture Tripoli in return for money.

The fighting has claimed at least 1,000 lives and displaced tens of thousands of people. "France has long supported all established forces engaged in the fight against terrorism, in Libya, in the Tripoli area and in Cyrenaica (the east of the country), as well as more broadly in the Sahel", it said.

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.

The U.N. -recognized government headed by Sarraj controls a much smaller section of territory around Tripoli in the west and draws support from Turkey, Qatar and Italy, analysts say.

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

The ministry has denied breaching the embargo.

Libya has been in a constant state of unrest since a NATO-backed insurgency overthrew Muammar Gaddafi's government in 2011.

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.

When Haftar launched his offensive on Tripoli in April, France was accused by Sarraj of being complicit in the violence which was condemned by the global community.

France says Javelin missiles found in Libya were 'unusable': army ministry