Sunday, February 27, 2011

Italian Report Details Arms Sales to Libya

Italy has sold Libya explosives, gun targeting equipment and other military hardware worth tens of millions of euros (dollars) in the past two years, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported on Feb. 26.

The newspaper quoted an official report from the Italian interior ministry that listed signed contracts as well as ongoing negotiations between Libya and several major Italian defense companies including industry giant Finmeccanica.

Missile systems maker Mbda Italia signed a deal worth 2.5 million euros in May 2009 to supply Libya with "material for bombs, torpedoes, rockets and missiles," the interior ministry report was quoted as saying.

Helicopter maker Augusta Westland signed two contracts with Libya in October 2010 worth 70 million euros. Also last year, Selex Sistemi Integrati signed a 13-million-euro deal to provide Libya with gun targeting equipment.

Italy and its former colony Libya signed a friendship treaty in 2008 that opened the way for major business deals. Italy is now Libya's top trade partner and Italian energy major ENI is the biggest foreign energy producer in Libya.

Saturday's report said artillery company Oto Melara had also begun talks with Libya in November 2010 for "weapons or weapons systems with a caliber of more than 12.7 mm, as well as material, spare parts, know how and equipment."

This year, military shipmaker Intermarine Spa started negotiations with Libya for contracts worth a total of 600 million euros.

Selex Sistemi Integrati, Augusta-Westland and Oto Melara are also in talks with Libya for contracts totaling 150 million euros.

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