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LIBYAN CHAOS
Swedish think tank in Qaddafi arms warning
An Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft like this one reportedly flew to Libya from Belarus

Swedish think tank in Qaddafi arms warning

Published: 01 Mar 2011 07:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Mar 2011 07:13 GMT+01:00

Aircraft have been seen flying between Belarus and Libya, raising concerns that Minsk is sending arms to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, an official at a specialist Swedish think tank said Monday.

"An Ilyushin Il-76 (plane) flew to Libya on February 15 from Baranovichi, a huge former Soviet weapon storage (area) now controlled by the Belarus government," said Hugh Griffiths of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), quoting aviation authority sources.

"We strongly suspect it was carrying weapons," he said.

"It was flown to Sebha airport, a very important location for Qaddafi, deep in the desert" in southern Libya," he said, adding "it's one of the very few airports that is still under the control of Qaddafi and that cannot be monitored by naval radar of the US, NATO or European warships, like in Tripoli."

"We've been monitoring (the airport) for a long time because it's been increasingly used to transfer weapons to sub-Saharan countries from Eastern Europe," Griffiths said, also backing up reports at the weekend that a jet owned by Qaddafi had flown to Minsk.

"We've seen flights from Tripoli to Belarus in the last few days," Griffiths said, adding the plane was a Falcon 900, as used by the Qaddafi clan. He noted that Qaddafi's son Khamis especially maintains close relations with Alexander Lukashenko's regime.

SIPRI, which specialises in research on weapons, sent out a warning Monday to relief organisations asking them to be picky about what companies they use to transport humanitarian aid to Libya and Ivory Coast, which according to the United Nations has also been receiving arms from Belarus.

"The humanitarian organisations need big cargo planes and sometimes end up using the same aircraft that transport weapons," Griffiths cautioned.

"Our primary concern has mostly been weapons from Belarus in the last two weeks, weapons that have been flown into Yamoussoukro airport in Ivory Coast and weapons to Sebha airport in Libya," he said.

SIPRI's arms traffic surveillance unit implements European projects under the supervision of Europe's top diplomat Catherine Ashton.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

08:25 March 1, 2011 by lux.veritas
More tax payers money down the toilette. What are all those government agenices and information and investigation organisations doing with all the rotten thieving state taxes. Scumbags.
08:54 March 1, 2011 by jackx123
so what. the US presidents are cruising in a 747 while they kill 1,000's of people and all "legitimate". why should the west interfere in another country's internal affairs. hmmm, let me think - does the word oil spring to mind. after all libya has more crude than saudi
09:00 March 1, 2011 by Nemesis
This is nonsense.

A think tank is not needed for this.

Sweden is a major arms exporter. All it has to do is check the receipts, not watch an airport or flight plans.

Also if Sweden is selling arms at present to Gadhafi, it should be cash up front. Credit should not be given in case he is not there in the morning.
09:07 March 1, 2011 by HYBRED
Ah, here we go with another 'think tank' , or is it septic tank in reality?
11:12 March 1, 2011 by Daniel Hynes
Who the hell is Qaddafi ?
01:58 March 2, 2011 by jackx123
"sweden is a major arms exporter" dude get of that wacky. a pissy country like sweden sold for US$350 million while US, Russia, Germany, France Italy etc sold for over 15 Billion
06:13 March 10, 2011 by wenddiver
Who cares??? He's the government he's allowed to buy from other governments. Reality, Libiya is a Russian client state, was in the past, is now and probably short of US intervention will be in the future. Russia through the pipe lies and Libiya controls almost all of Europes energy, so put that in your European Union and see how it computes. This would be an excellent time for Europe to back the winning side with force, but they won't, they'll call their big American brother, who real life isn't coming.
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