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Libya-Turkey row over suspicious arms shipment

Libya and Turkey agreed on Saturday to open an urgent joint investigation into a consignment of arms which arrived from Turkey and was seized at a port near Tripoli this week, the UN-backed Libyan government said.

The government released the statement following talks in Tripoli between Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The statement quoted Cavusoglu as saying Ankara rejected such actions “which do not represent the policy or approach of the Turkish state”.

The weapons were seized by customs on Tuesday in Khoms port, just over 100 km (62 miles) east of Tripoli.

The consignment sent from Turkey contained 3,000 Turkish-made pistols, as well as some other pistols, hunting rifles and ammunition, Benghazi’s Benina airport customs services said on their official Facebook account.

A day earlier a cargo of 2.5 million Turkish-made bullets was seized at the same port, the same source said.

The UN mission in Libya has condemned the shipment of arms to Libya as “extremely disconcerting.”

The UN last June extended an arms embargo on Libya for another year.

The oil-rich country plunged into chaos nearly eight years after a NATO-backed uprising that toppled former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.

The country has been divided between rival governments and military factions based in the east and west of the country since 2014, causing political deadlock and an economic crisis.

Source: Reuters

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