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UK to give more body armour to Libya rebels

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, July 1, IRNA -- Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has announced that the British government is supplying further body armour and other equipment for use by the Libyan rebels in the latest efforts to overthrow Muammar Gadaffi's regime.

Five thousand sets of body armour, 6,650 police uniforms, 5,000 high-visibility vests, and communications equipment will be donated for the sole use of the civilian police force under the control of the Benghazi-based National Transitional Council.

'This equipment will enable the civilian police to carry out their functions more securely and better protect NTC representatives and the significant international and NGO communities in Benghazi, Misratah and other areas of Libya now controlled by the NTC,” Hague said.

'Under the HM Treasury guidelines set out in Managing Public Money these items are grants and grants-in-aid to the NTC, and not gifts,” he said in a written parliamentary statement published on Friday.

'Therefore Crown immunity applies to the supply of body armour and an export licence is not required. The other equipment does not require export licences.”

The British government first started to supply equipment to the Libyan rebels when sending unspecified communications equipment in April and has since also donated flak jackets from surplus stock.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, previously said that Britain agrees with the US that UN security resolution 1973 could be interpreted to permit the supply of arms to rebel forces in Libya.

The decision comes as Western governments have been trying to engineer regime change in Libya as Nato-led forces are imposing a no-fly-zone and have been bombing military targets but without achieving any breakthrough in the civil war.

On Thursday, it was revealed that France has been air-dropping weapons in Libya's rebel-held areas that led to both Russia and China to question whether or not the supplying of arms breached the terms of the United Nations Security Council resolution that authorises international action in Libya.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30456476

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