Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who weapon Qaddafi?

Europe faces an uncomfortable contradiction: while the diplomat of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, Muammar Gaddafi asks that represses its people, an official report revealed that the eccentric Libyan leader would be cutting the wings of democratic aspirations of his countrymen with bombs manufactured in Europe.

"Belgian Arms to repress the Libyan people," entitles the Belgian newspaper Le Soir. " The newspaper agreed to Belgian military information according to which the company FN Herstal, Wallonia (the French speaking community in the south), sold to Gaddafi in July 2008 a large shipment of weapons.

It is, among other materials, 400 F2000 assault rifles, 367 pistols, machine guns P90, more than 22,000 shells and 1,134 howitzer ammunition for the 32 Libyan army battalion. The total contract amount to 5.3 million euros, about six million dollars. However, it is a fraction of a quantity of weapons "made in Europe" who have arrived in Tripoli in recent years.

For example, a report by the EU itself reveals that Italy and Malta are among the partners in the bloc that have sold more arms to Qaddafi, followed by Germany, France and the UK. According to the latest annual report on arms exports in Europe, which dates back to 2009, community partners granted 343 million euros (470 million dollars) in export licenses for arms to Libya, a country considered a "friend" by some members Italy, former colonial power, but that on paper would not stand even the slightest consideration of democratic quality.

In fact, the European Neighbourhood Policy, which began in 2004 following the accession of ten new members (most of eastern Europe), has a specific clause under which the EU is compremete to boost cooperation with its partners, many of strip them of North African and southern Mediterranean, based on "European values" such as democracy and respect for human rights.

And, according to the EU report, the amount of export of arms manufactured in Europe for the Libyan Army rises to 174 million euros, according to January. Italy, for example, granted licenses for arms exports to Libya for a total of 112 million euros, of which the most succulent -108 000 000 "corresponds to the sale of aircraft and helicopters (for example, the firm Alenia).

Surprising that the small Mediterranean island of Malta, is the second in the list, with 80 million in licensing weapons, especially small arms, including pistols and submachine guns to Libya. Germany is third, with export licenses for arms worth 53 million euros, most of them for electronic equipment, such as to neutralize mobile communications, Internet and satellite positioning systems GPS.

Fourth in the "uncomfortable ranking" including France, with 30.5 million euros (2009) on licensing arms exports to the Libyan Army, followed by Britain with 25.5 million euros and Belgium with 22 million euros. The big question in Europe is: Are these weapons serve to repress the Libyan population?.

Rudy Demotte, Socialist Prime Minister of the Belgian region of Wallonia, home to the company FN Herstal, denies this. "The contract was signed (with Libya) expressly provides that the weapons (Belgian) are for the 32 battalion of the elite forces of the Libyan army as part of a mission to protect the convoys (Libya) in humanitarian aid bound Darfur ...

These weapons are not intended to be used in Libya, "said Demotte was quoted by Belgian RTBF radio. Meanwhile, Van der Meershen Benoit, president of the League on behalf of Human Rights in Belgium, does not seem so convinced. "Small arms (pistols, rifles and submachine guns) kill 500,000 people each year worldwide, 90% of them are civilians.

Libya had no need of receiving weapons of FN Herstal, Gaddafi did not need, "he says in" Le Soir. "

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