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Russia criticizes France over arming Libyan rebels

July 01, 2011, 12:33 UTC+3
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MOSCOW, June 30 (ITAR-TASS) - France's bid to supply arms to Libyan rebels will outrage the U.N. Security Council resolution, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Speaking at the State Duma on Thursday, Lavrov said, "The Russian Foreign Ministry asked our French colleagues for information. We will wait for their response."

"If information is affirmed, it will outrage U.N. Security Council Resolution 1970 that was approved by consensus," Lavrov stressed.

News of France's weapons delivery to the rebels emerged in a report by Le Figaro newspaper on Wednesday.

The newspaper said France - a leading force in the Nato operation in Libya - did not inform its allies about the move.

The report said the weapons included rocket launchers and anti-tank missiles, although French officials would only confirm light arms and ammunition had been dropped to rebel fighters.

The decision was reportedly taken after a meeting in April between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the Chief of Staff of the Libyan rebels, Gen Abdelfatah Younis.

France is said to have been concerned at the stalemate in the Libyan conflict that started in February.

Russia and China have criticised the Nato campaign, saying it has gone beyond the remit of UN resolution 1973, which authorised international military action in Libya.

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