Belarus is arming Cote d'Ivoire's Gbagbo, says UN chief
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday accused Belarus of breaking the international arms embargo against Cote d’Ivoire. Ban said a Belarus helicopter arrived in the country on Sunday and two more were expected on Monday. Belarus has denied the accusations.
Ban said the UN Security Council must meet urgently to discuss the allegations that Belarus was helping to arm Cote d’Ivoire’s Laurent Gbagbo.
“The escalation of the post-electoral crisis in Cote d’Ivoire reached new heights today, when the United Nations reported that three military helicopters from Belarus arrived in Yamoussoukro last night,” correspondent Marco Chown Oved told RFI.
“Local UN officials say the helicopters came in parts and have not been assembled yet. Last week was marked by a militarisation of the conflict when pitched battles between police loyal to Laurent Gbagbo and commandos loyal to Alassane Ouattara took place in the Abobo district of Abidjan,” he added.
Members of the UN sanctions committee and a UN peacekeeping officer went to the airport to check the delivery of the helicopters. UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said they were unable to verify the information and had to leave.
Belarus has denied the accusations. Andrei Savinykh, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, told the AFP news agency that they had not violated Security Council sanctions and had an “efficient system to control weapons exports”.
“It is purely and simply a lie to justify an attack against the government of president Laurent Gbagbo,” said spokesperson Ahoua Don Mello.