Another unreal, Reuters, 'report' below.
Can you believe they forgot to mention if
any one had been arrested over this???
Or, that they didn't even mention what the
penalty for breaking the export restriction is.
Or, that the company that made the parts wasn't even named.
January 10 11:01 AM ET
Britain Knew of Scud Shipment
to Libya in April
By Dominic Evans LONDON (Reuters) -
British officials were first aware of a consignment of Scud missile parts being smuggled to Libya last April as they discussed resuming ties with Tripoli, a Foreign Office official said Monday.
``Suspicions were first roused in April,'' the official said. Britain immediately launched an inquiry into the consignment, which was designated as auto spare parts destined for Malta.
But he said the issue was not raised with Libyan officials during talks to end the 15-year diplomatic break between the two countries because Britain ``did not want to prejudice the inquiry.''
``This is part of a wider story and the inquiry was not complete,'' the official said. ``We wanted the strongest case possible.''
He said the consignment was impounded in July, just before the two countries re-established diplomatic relations, and was then inspected by Ministry of Defense experts. Formal seizure of the shipment took place four months later in November.
Britain only announced it had uncovered the Scud parts over the weekend after a newspaper reported the consignment had been intercepted.
Libya Monday said press stories about the seizure were aimed at damaging improving relations between Libya and Britain.
``We weren't intending to take issue now but it was always the intention that the issue would be raised,'' the official said.
Uk Envoy Hands Over Protest
Britain's ambassador to Tripoli Richard Dalton, who took up his post last month, was meeting senior Libyan officials on Monday to protest at the shipment, he said.
The export of missiles to Libya is illegal under a European Union arms embargo and an international treaty against the proliferation of ballistic missiles. The Foreign Office official said the shipment, found at Gatwick Airport, contained spare parts for Libya's existing Scud arsenal but would not have extended Tripoli's missile range.
The Sunday Times said that among the missile parts were components of a jet propulsion system for Scuds with a distance of up to 600 miles, which would bring Italy into range. Libya's existing Scuds could travel only about 200 miles, it said.
Scuds are short-range, road-mobile, ballistic missiles that can carry chemical, biological or nuclear warheads in addition to traditional explosive payloads.
They were first developed by the Soviet Union, which built thousands, but reports indicate that Scuds have also been manufactured in Egypt, Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
Prodi's Invite To Gaddafi ``Premature''
The official said revelations about the shipment reinforced Britain's view that an invitation by European Commission President Romano Prodi to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to visit Brussels was premature.
But he defended Britain's decision to press ahead with its own resumption of ties with Libya while it had been investigating the shipment and said he did not expect the naming of a Libyan ambassador to London to be affected.
``It is not our view that the discovery (of the Scud parts) should prejudice confirmation of the Libyan ambassador's appointment,'' he said.
Having an envoy in Tripoli also meant Britain could convey its protest directly to senior Libyan officials, he added.
Britain and Libya announced in July last year that they were reestablishing diplomatic relations after Tripoli agreed to pay compensation for the 1984 fatal shooting of a policewoman in London and handed over two suspects wanted for the bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie in Scotland in 1988 which killed 270 people.
- Britain to Protest to Libya Over Scud Parts (January 9)
- British Envoy to Protest to Libya Over Scud Parts (January 9)
- Missile Parts for Libya Seized in UK - Customs (January 8)