UAE firms 'violated' UN Libya embargo and shipped 11,000 tonnes jet fuel to Haftar: reports

UAE firms 'violated' UN Libya embargo and shipped 11,000 tonnes jet fuel to Haftar: reports
Two UAE firms have allegedly shipped jet fuel to renegade general Khalifa Haftar's forces in Libya.
3 min read
20 April, 2020
Haftar is supported by a number of Arab and European states [Getty]


The UAE has been accused of violating an international arms embargo on Libya, by sending thousands of tonnes of jet fuel to renegade general Khalifa Haftar.

UAE companies shipped nearly 11,000 tonnes of jet fuel for the rebel eastern administration, according to The Financial Times, which has been used in the country's civil war.

The $5 million of jet fuel was shipped from the UAE last month to Benghazi, the eastern Libyan city under the control of Haftar's militias, the report stated.

Stephanie Williams, the acting UN envoy to Libya, told the FT that the fuel was considered to be "combat supplies", which would violate an international arms embargo on the country, which has been embroiled in civil war since the 2011.

A Sharjah-based logistics company allegedly supplied the fuel which was loaded onto a Liberian-flagged tanker operated by a Ajman-based firm and sent to Benghazi last month, according to documents seen by the FT.

The documents stated that the jet fuel was ordered by the Libyan Express Airlines, which the FT could not find any evidence of existing. 

The private firm Libyan Express said that it operates air ambulances in west Libya but did not order the fuel and does not work in Benghazi.

The fuel was then used by Haftar's fighter jets in the offensive on the capital Tripoli, which is under the control of the UN-recognised government, the paper added.

Repeated attacks by Haftar's so-called Libyan National Army on Tripoli has led to hundreds of civilian deaths and displaced tens thousands from their homes.

The UN envoy voiced concerns about the shipments, one of a number of violations of an arms embargo on Libya by both sides in the war.

"We are very concerned about this incident given that the illicit import of jet fuel by the parallel eastern National Oil Corporation would very likely be used to support LNA air force operations, as the legitimate Tripoli-based NOC is already supplying sufficient amounts of jet fuel for commercial use," Williams said. 

The supplies from the UAE were likely used for combat aircraft rather than commercial airliners due to the eastern authority already receives jet fuel for civilian use the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation.

"The NOC is the only entity legally allowed to import fuels into Libya and NOC always ensures that there is enough fuel for civil aviation demand across the country," the national oil company told the FT. 

"This comes from local refineries and when needed we import jet fuel but that is very rare. We confirm that there was no shortage of jet fuel in any part of Libya in recent years."

Libya is embroiled in a civil war between militias linked to Khalifa Haftar's in the east and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli.

The GNA is supported by Turkey, while the Haftar-backed eastern administration receives military supplies and other support from Egypt, the UAE and Russia.

Haftar was a former leading general with Muammar Gaddafi's regime, until he defected to the US. Gaddafi was overthrown in a popular revolution in 2011, but militias have since engaged in a battle for control of the country.

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