South Africa: No Weapons or Military Hardware Exported to Libya - Mthembu

(file photo).

The government has squashed rumours regarding the export of weapons and military hardware to Turkey, which could possibly end up in the hands of militia groups fighting in the Libyan civil war.

This after the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) was questioned, during a Parliamentary meeting of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence, about reports that military hardware had been exported to Turkey in May and could possibly end up in the north African nation.

NCACC chairperson and Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the matter was raised with the NCACC last week.

He said they had no previous knowledge of military hardware destined for Libya.

During the meeting on Thursday, the committee was told the NCACC requested a report from the ministers responsible for international relations and cooperation, the national intelligence coordinating committee, and the defence department.

Mthembu said the sale and use of military weapons are guided by international protocol and South African regulations.

According to domestic regulations, military hardware may not be sold to countries involved in conflicts.

According to Aljazeera, the European Union's top diplomat has urged all parties in the conflict in Libya to immediately stop all military operations and to engage constructively in peace negotiations.

Turkey is seen as an ally of Libya.

Meanwhile, Mthembu told MPs that "countries that we interact with in good faith should not do anything that has not been agreed on".

During his presentation, Mthembu said the NCACC framework is grounded in domestic law, which is in agreement with international treaties and conventions.

"The Cabinet committee applies itself effectively within the confines of prescribed laws. The Cabinet committee supports compliance with our international commitments on arms control and the secretariat is supported to attend arms control meetings, wherever these meetings take place.

"Defence industry members, registered under the NCACC Act, are subject thereto and must operate and grow within those parameters (the Arms Control Framework)," he said.

Committee chairperson Cyril Xaba said: "The committee welcomes the progress made to ensure the finalisation of the amendments to the NCACC, specifically the regulations relating to the end-user certificates.

"The amended regulations allow end-users to agree to on-site verification of controlled items arranged through a diplomatic process. As per the committee's request, details on requests for transfer of weapons or military components from one country to another will be made available."

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