Libya to spend $4.7 billion upgrading military
Libya is reported to be planning to spend some $4.7 billion, or at least 10 percent of the national budget on upgrading its military forces over the next year, and also purchase fighter aircraft and warships. The national budget was approved by the General National Congress, GNC earlier this month.
The report was published by The National, a United Arab Emirates, UAE daily newspaper that quoted Col. Abdel Nasser Busnina, a senior Libyan air force officer, saying that the new government is prepared to allocate the $4.7 billion in energy revenues to acquire advanced weapons systems.
During a recent arms exhibition in Abu Dhabi, Mr Busnina is reported saying: “We have 2,000 kilometres of Mediterranean coastline to defend and six borders with African countries. We need to rebuild our armed forces. The equipment we have is old and in need of repair."
The GNC is said to be particularly concerned about its porous desert frontiers with Egypt, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Tunisia and Algeria.
After the UN's recent decision to ease the sanctions to allow the new government to buy non-lethal military equipment to help boost security, Libya is determined to improve its security inside and on its borders, and around the country's extensive oil and natural gas resources.
The sanctions had been imposed during the country's eight-month revolution that erupted in February 2011, and that eventually ousted from power after more than four decades the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
The programme to upgrade Libya's military forces could include aircraft, naval vessels and military vehicles provided they remain unarmed.