Author Topic: Reports say Israelis assisted Ivory Coast army  (Read 1972 times)

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Reports say Israelis assisted Ivory Coast army
« on: November 18, 2004, 03:47:23 »
Reports say Israelis assisted Ivory Coast army

ISN SECURITY WATCH (11/17/2004) - French media reported on Wednesday that Israelis assisted the Ivory Coast army in its attacks on French military bases in the African nation in which nine French peacekeepers and one US aid worker were killed. The French TF1 television said on Wednesday morning â Å“Israeli mercenaries assisting the Ivory Coast army operated unmanned aircraft that aided aerial bombings of a French base in the countryâ ?. The French Le Monde newspaper reported on Wednesday that a group of 46 Israeli experts operated an eavesdropping and intelligence center for the Ivory Coast military. The French forces have confiscated an Israeli aircraft in the Abidjan airport, and Paris has asked Israel to clarify the circumstances of its presence in the West African state. Israeli Radio quoted an Israeli defense source on Wednesday as denying the French allegations. The Israeli source said that the Israeli unmanned aircraft confiscated by the French had been legally sold to Ivory Coast by a private company not connected to Israeli military industries. The Israeli Foreign Ministry also said in a statement that Israel was â Å“unaware of the matterâ ?. The Israeli Defense Ministry announced on 9 November that it would suspend all arms sales to Ivory Coast. On Monday, the UN Security Council imposed an immediate 13-month arms embargo on Ivory Coast, seeking to revive the struggling peace process. The Security Council resolution said further sanctions, including a targeted travel ban and asset freeze on individuals in the former French colony, could also be imposed by 15 December if key steps were not taken to implement the stalled peace accord. France drafted the resolution earlier this month after nine French peacekeepers and a US aid worker were killed in an air strike by Ivorian government warplanes in the north of the country. French forces responded by wiping out the tiny nation's air force in a move that set off deadly anti-French and anti-foreigner riots and vandalism, reportedly leaving dozens dead. Two months ago, France requested that the Israeli government and private companies stop selling arms to Ivory Coast. According to the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, for the past year, Israel has continued to grant export permits to Israeli arms traders doing business with Ivory Coast. Aeronautics Defense Systems is one Israeli company that has sold military-related goods - including drones and riot-dispersal equipment - to Ivory Coast. Arms dealer Moshe Rothschild has also sold the African country ammunition and light weapons made in Eastern Europe. In other news, NATO has suggested that the Israeli army, for the first time, take part in multinational military exercises and anti-terror activities, such as patrols in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Israel's first-ever role in NATO military exercises is part of the organization's decision to invite the armies of the "Mediterranean dialogue" countries to take part in the exercises. A military summit was scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels, and Israel was expected to send a senior representative to the summit, Major General Yisrael Ziv, to discuss NATO's plans to upgrade the "Mediterranean dialogue" with Israel and six Arab nations: Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Mauretania. Ha'aretz reported that NATO was also considering sending forces to the Gaza Strip once Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an agreement on Israel's withdrawal from the territory. (By Haytham Mouzahem in Beirut)