Libyan rebel chief calls for arms shipments
Jun 30, 2011, 9:33 GMT
Vienna - Libyan rebels need arm supplies to win the war against government forces, the head of the rebel-run Transitional National Council (TNC) said Thursday in Vienna, one day after France confirmed air drops of weapons for the opposition forces.
'The rebels have only light arms,' Mahmoud Jibril said after meeting Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger. 'We need weapons to bring the fight to a quick end.'
A French military spokesman said Wednesday that France had dropped light arms and ammunition to Berber tribes fighting government forces in the western Nafusa mountains in early June.
Until now, only Arab states such as Qatar had directly armed the rebels.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen did not directly respond to the rebel's call for military aid.
'Our operation in Libya aims at implementing fully UN Security Council resolution 1973: the no-fly zone, the arms embargo and the protection of civilians,' he told reporters in Vienna, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.
He said the western military alliance had not been involved in the French initiative and that he has no information about any other NATO arms supplies.
Jibril also called on countries to unfreeze Libyan assets abroad, and to use the funds to provide food the population.
The TNC chairman was scheduled to meet German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle later in the day.
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