NATO not involved in French arms aid to Libya rebels

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 30, 2011 6:34 AM
NATO not involved in French arms aid to Libya rebels

VIENNA (Reuters) - NATO was not involved in a French operation to airlift weapons to Libya's rebels, alliance chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday.

Rasmussen, speaking to reporters during a visit to Vienna, also said he had no information of any other countries delivering arms to the insurgents.

But he said NATO had "successfully implemented" the U.N. Security Council resolution on Libya, the no fly zone, the arms embargo and also the effective protection of civilians in the North African country.

France on Wednesday became the first NATO country to openly acknowledge arming the rebels seeking to topple Muammar Gaddafi, who has so far resisted a three-month-old bombing campaign that has strained alliance and rebel firepower.

Asked if NATO was involved in the French move, he said: "No." Asked whether he knew of any other countries aiding the rebels in this way, Rasmussen said: "No, I have no information."

France has defended its move, saying it did not break a U.N. arms embargo because the arms were needed to defend civilians under threat.

Rasmussen said: "As regards compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolution, it is for the U.N. sanctions committee to determine that."

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Matthew Jones)