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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

France says Libya arms deliveries were for 'self-defense'

RIA Novosti

14:24 01/07/2011

MOSCOW, July 1 (RIA Novosti) - The weapons which France supplied to rebels fighting Libyan embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi were for "self-defense" in line with the UN resolution, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Friday after Russia and others voiced concern.

Thierry Burkhard, spokesman for the French general staff, confirmed on Wednesday that arms distribution took place but said only light arms and ammunition were airdropped. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday demanded an explanation from France.

"Civilians had been attacked by Gaddafi's forces and were in an extremely vulnerable situation and that is why medicine, food and also weapons of self-defense were parachuted," Juppe said.

"It is not a violation of the UN Security Council resolution under which France and other allies launched air strikes and imposed embargoes to protect civilians from Gaddafi," he added, speaking during a broadcast on France Inter radio.

Libya has been rocked with anti-Gaddafi protests since mid-February. The international military operation began on March 19 following a UN resolution and was extended until late September.

UN Security Council Resolution 1970, passed in February, prohibited states from providing any kind of arms to Libya. March Resolution 1973 authorized nations "to take all necessary measures" to help protect Libyan civilians.

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