France has denied breaching a UN arms embargo after four of its anti-tank missiles were found on a base loyal to a rogue Libyan general.
The country’s defence ministry says the “unusable” US-made Javelin missiles were never intended to be passed to any group, and were due to be destroyed.
However, they were discovered in a camp south of the capital Tripoli, used by forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar.
Gen Haftar’s forces are currently fighting for control of the city.
The battle for Tripoli – home of the internationally recognised government – began when Gen Haftar’s forces launched an attack in April, with hundreds killed in the months since.
The four missiles were discovered in June when forces loyal to the UN-backed government overran the camp, prompting an investigation in Washington.
France admitted the weapons – which can be used against tanks and other vehicles – belonged to them in a statement on Wednesday.
“These weapons were for the protection of forces undertaking intelligence and counter-terror missions,” the defence ministry statement said.
It added the missiles were “damaged and unusable” and “being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction”.
France has previously been accused of supporting Gen Haftar but has always denied supplying any arms, in line with the UN embargo which has been in place since 2011.