Officials in Doha have confirmed that Qatar is secretly supplying French-made ‘Milan’ anti-tank missiles to Libyan counter-revolutionaries in Benghazi, as part of the western powers’ strategy of working to overthrow the Gadaffi regime.
The move, organised by France and the UK, breaches the UN arms embargo.
It emerged yesterday that on the sidelines of the contact group meeting in Doha, Qatar prime minister and foreign minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem, insisted on Wednesday that UN resolutions on Libya permitted the supply of ‘defensive weapons’ to opposition forces to help them fight Libyan government armour.
He added: ‘We need to send the Libyans equipment so they can defend themselves and get on with their lives’.
The Libyan government has repeatedly complained that the Qataris are supplying the ‘rebels’. Libyan deputy foreign minister Khaled Kayim on Wednesday said that about twenty Qatari specialist forces were already in Benghazi.
Meanwhile, nations at the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) Summit on the Chinese island of Hainan yesterday collectively voiced their opposition to the use of force in Libya.
Reflecting on the situation in the Middle East and North African countries, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed that there was a ‘shift of power towards ordinary citizens’ and ‘people were determining their own future’.
Singh, along with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and South African President Jacob Zuma discussed the volatile situation in that region, particularly Libya, and its impact on the five emerging nations.
‘We share the principle that the use of force should be avoided,’ said a Declaration issued after the Summit.