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Libya: Arms, ethics and the EU

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Libya: Arms, ethics and the EU


As the body count mounts in Libya and the EU and allies apply diplomatic pressure to force Gaddafi to stand down.

The stark reality is that EU member states have been racing to arm Gaddafi since an arms embargo was lifted in 2004.

Italy leads the way with a total of 276.7 million euros worth of export licences granted followed by France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

That is close to 690 million euros worth of licences between the four nations between 2005 and 2009.

Italy, France and Portugal granted permits for military aircraft and associated equipment, while Belgium sold licences for anti-personal chemicals used to break up protests.

Human rights organisations estimate close to 6,000 people have been killed since the start of the Libyan uprising and according to the German arms control NGO Bits, the brutal reality is business, economic and political interests override ethical standards in many cases.

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