UN report links missile strikes on Libya's government to UAE

TEHRAN, May 07 (MNA) – UN experts are investigating missile strikes near Libya's capital that were point to possible involvement by the United Arab Emirates, according to a confidential report seen by AFP on Monday.

The April 19-20 missile attack on the southern suburbs of Tripoli was carried out by the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) forces loyal to renegade strongman General Khalifa Haftar — who is backed by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Washington — in efforts to capture the capital city from the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in the divided North African nation.

A UN panel of experts said in the report to the Security Council that it had examined photographs of missile debris and had identified the weapon as a Blue Arrow air-to-surface missile, which has not been used in Libya before.

That missile is only in use in three countries – China (which is the manufacturer), Kazakhstan and the United Arab Emirates – and is paired with the Chinese-made Wing Loong drone.

“Probable use of Wing Loong UAV variants by the LNA, or by a third party in support of the LNA” is under investigation by the UN panel, said the report submitted Thursday to the Security Council.

The panel said, however, that it was “almost certain” that the missiles were not directly supplied to Libya by the manufacturer or by the Chinese government.

It has also contacted Chinese authorities for information that could help identify the suppliers of the weapon.

The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are seen as key supporters of Haftar.

The UN inspectors also pointed out that the use of the drones was “likely a recent non-compliance of the arms embargo as the weapon system reported on has not been identified in Libya before.”

Moreover, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed on Monday his call for a ceasefire and for an end “to foreign interference to allow Libyans to be able to once again come together” and find a political solution.

Since April 4, fighting between the LNA and GNA forces has killed at least 432 people, wounded 2,069, and displaced more than 50,000, according to the UN.

MNA/PR

News Code 144974

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