The Guardian reports that Britain is trying to boost sales of defence equipment to Libya by sending a Royal Navy warship to Tripoli in April to act as a "floating shop window" for security firms.
Despite concerns among Libyan politicians and arms control campaigners, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has so far refused to disclose the businesses likely to be exhibiting, but a previous UKTI DSO mission to Libya in April 2012 was attended by BAE Systems, CAE, GD (UK), KBR, NATS, 3SDL, Selex Galileo, and Surrey Satellite Technology.
Due to the UN arms embargo, and the British Foreign Office regarding Libya as a "country of concern" over human rights abuses, UKTI said no weapons would be offered for sale and the Libyans would only be shown specialist equipment to help with port security and maintenance, as well as patrol vessels and uniforms.
The Guardian says there is already an undeclared arms race among European defence contractors to re-equip Libya's armed forces, with Italy handing over 20 Puma armoured cars to Libya's defence ministry, and French company Sillinger selling Libya 50 rigid inflatable boats.
(Picture: HMS Richmond, UK Royal Navy)