Russia demands explanation over French arms for Libya rebels

30th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Thursday demanded an explanation from France over its reported arms drop to rebels fighting Moamer Kadhafi's forces in Libya.

"We are awaiting a response," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

"If this is confirmed, it would be a brazen violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1970," Lavrov said.

Russia's top diplomat was referring to a February resolution that prohibited states from providing any kind of arms to Libya.

It was followed by Resolution 1973 in March that authorised nations "to take all necessary measures" to help protect civilians against Kadhafi's forces.

Russia abstained from the second vote and has since criticised the extent of the international involvement.

Analysts suggest that Russia's disappointment with the resolution's interpretation by the West may slow its support for potential action against nations such as North Korea and Iran.

France's ambassador to the United Nations confirmed the arms drop on Wednesday.

But he said it only included "self-defence weapons" and was destined for people "under threat" -- one of the exceptions provided for under Article 4 of UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Lavrov's comments came ahead of talks with his French counterpart Alain Juppe scheduled to take place in Moscow on Friday.

© 2011 AFP

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