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UK To Give Body Armour To Libya Rebels

UK To Give Body Armour To Libya Rebels

5:08pm 30th June 2011
(Updated 4:04am 1st July 2011)

The Foreign Secretary has announced that the Government is supplying further body armour and other equipment for use by the Libyan rebels.

In a written statement to Parliament, William Hague confirmed an announcement on May 16 that the Government intended to provide additional practical and material assistance to the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Five thousand sets of body armour, 6,650 police uniforms, 5,000 high-visibility vests, and communications equipment will be donated for the sole use of the civilian police force under the control of the NTC.

In his statement, Mr Hague said: "This equipment will enable the civilian police to carry out their functions more securely and better protect NTC representatives and the significant international and NGO communities in Benghazi, Misratah and other areas of Libya now controlled by the NTC.

"Under the HM Treasury guidelines set out in Managing Public Money these items are grants and grants-in-aid to the NTC, and not gifts.

"Therefore Crown immunity applies to the supply of body armour and an export licence is not required.

"The other equipment does not require export licences. However, I am committed to keeping Parliament informed which is why I am setting this out in a written ministerial statement."

Sky News understands that the body armour has been procured by the British Government. 

An earlier donation of flak jackets had come from surplus stock.

The announcement follows talks between the Prime Minister and NTC chairman Mustafa Abdul-Jalil in London in May.

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