BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:10 P.M.) – France on Wednesday, the suspension of its participation in NATO naval operations in the Mediterranean Sea after a confrontation with Turkish warships, amid escalating tensions within the military alliance over the conflict in Libya.
According to the Associated Press, the French Defense Ministry said that the government sent a message to NATO informing it that it will temporarily suspend its participation in the maritime operation, after revealing the report of the NATO investigators on the June 10 incident.
France wants the NATO allies to officially confirm their adherence to “the arms embargo against Libya, which is partly subject to a European Union naval operation,” a ministry official said, adding that Paris and Ankara are accusing each other of causing problems in the North African nation.
France also called for a “crisis mechanism” to prevent a repeat of the incident earlier this month between Turkish warships and a French naval vessel in the Mediterranean.
France says its frigate has received three warnings by the Turkish Maritime Targeting Radar, when it attempted to approach a civilian ship flying the Tanzania flag suspected of smuggling weapons and accompanied by Turkish ships.
According to the French side, this is a hostile behavior in the rules of engagement for NATO, but Turkey denies the French allegations.
NATO confirmed that the investigators had finished their report on the incident, but they declined to discuss it because its results were considered “classified.”