Asked by Tripoli to explain “urgently” after the discovery of weapons belonging to him at a base of Marshal Haftar, France has assured that its missiles were out of order and were “not in Libyan hands” .
“The words that can be read here and there about the fact that these missiles were in Libyan hands are utterly false, that was not the case”: in an interview with France Info on July 12 French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly tried to defuse the crisis that is emerging between Paris and Tripoli, following the discovery of missiles belonging to France on a basis of Marshal Haftar.
But the defense of the minister seems confused, Florence Parly did not explain why it was “wrong” to say that the missiles were “in Libyan hands”, while all parties recognize that they were found in Marshal Haftar’s headquarters.
“They were never transferred to anyone, they had only one intended use, it was to contribute to the protection of French elements who were doing intelligence in the fight against terrorism,” he said. she argues, sketching a little more clearly the argument of Paris. “These missiles were put out of action, so they were stored in a place that was intended to allow their destruction. […] For reasons related to the events taking place in Libya, these missiles could not be destroyed in time “, thus justified the French minister.
Tripoli wants to know the quantity of weapons provided by Paris to Marshal Haftar
Not sure that this explanation convinced the Libyan national unity government, whose foreign minister Mohamad Tahar Siala had sent a letter to his counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, asking him “to explain urgently the mechanism by which French weapons discovered at Gharyan [had] reached the Haftar forces, when were they delivered and how? “
In his letter, Mohamad Tahar Siala also wanted to know “the quantities of weapons” that France would have provided to Marshal Haftar, whose “existence [in Libya] contradicts the declarations of the French government […] of support to the RNG as the only internationally recognized “.
Last month, weapons were found and recovered by UN-backed Libyan government forces during a raid on Marshal Haftar’s rebel camp in Gharyan, a town south of Tripoli. Now, reveals the New York Times , among these weapons were four Javelin anti-tank missiles, American weapons. France admitted on the 10th of July that these missiles belonged to it, while refuting having supplied them to Marshal Haftar.
Since the beginning of the conflict, the position of France vis-à-vis Marshal Haftar is ambiguous. Paris admits to bringing him intelligence in the east and south of the country in the fight against terrorism, but refutes any military support in its offensive against Tripoli.