By Lennart Simonsson
Stockholm - Sightings of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's private jet in Belarus suggest that the Eastern European country could be a possible destination for members of his entourage, a Stockholm-based researcher said Tuesday.
“What we know for a fact is that within the last seven days Gaddafi's own aircraft has made at least two flights from Tripoli to Belarus,” Hugh Griffiths of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) told Swedish radio news.
In addition to offering a possible safe haven for Gaddafi's closest associates, Belarus was likely a source for arms shipments to Libya, he added.
SIPRI tracks arms shipments and said information about the flights to Belarus were drawn from “a wide range of sources” within the United Nations, European Union and NATO.
Libya has been a transit country for arms shipments to other African countries. Following the uprising against Gaddafi, researchers have considered if the arms shipments could have been destined for Libya.
Arms deliveries to Libya were legal until the weekend when the UN Security imposed an arms embargo, Griffiths observed.
The last shipment on February 15 was made by a cargo plane that had capacity to ferry some 40 tons of small arms and ammunition, the SIPRI researcher said. - Sapa-dpa