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Poland Sold Arms to Libyan Rebels

Aug. 22, 2011 - 03:45AM   |  
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WARSAW - Poland has supplied anti-tank rocket launchers and military vehicles to the Libyan rebels as part of its support to the armed opposition, according to a report by Polish news agency PAP.

The news came Aug. 22 as the rebels reportedly seized control of most of Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

The deal "had the government's full approval," an unnamed Polish government official told PAP.

The official declined to provide PAP with more details.

When NATO launched its support of the Libyan uprising, Poland declined to add its F-16C/D Block 52 fighter jets to the alliance-led air operations over Libya. But Warsaw began publicly backing the rebels on May 11, when Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski visited their de facto capital of Benghazi.

In late June, Poland officially recognized the Libyan opposition as the country's legitimate government, and moved its Libyan embassy temporarily to the rebel-controlled city.

"We congratulate the Libyans and the National Transitional Council on putting an end to the regime, which has for years sponsored terrorist groups responsible for many innocent deaths," said Marcin Bosacki, the spokesman for Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "The international community, including the European Union and Poland ... is ready to provide comprehensive assistance for the Libyan partners and friends."

Since July 1, Poland has held the six-month rotating presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers.

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