Following reports of a leaked United Nations report that accused Albania, along with other countries, of supplying arms to the Democratic Republic of Congo, without notifying the UN as required, the Albanian government has failed to issue a formal denial.
Exit contacted a spokesperson for Prime Minister Edi Rama who said via WhatsApp that it was “totally untrue”. They then sent a link from 2011 that reported on Albanian weapons being used in a conflict in the country.
At the time, the Ministry of Defence, under a Democratic Party government did not deny that Albania sold arms to the Congolese government. They said that everything was done in accordance with the law and with the full knowledge of the UN.
“In response to the accusations of the so-called scandal of using Albanian shells in the fighting in Congo, the Ministry of Defense clarifies that there is no scandal or news here. The sale of 120 mm shells to the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo is legal. This sale has been reported to the United Nations, as it is published on the official website of the State Export Control Agency (NAIS),” Said at-the-time Minister of Defence Ervin Kullari.
In fact, the most recent scandal is not a matter of selling arms to the African state. Rather it is the fact that if the Albanian government did sell them, they did not notify the UN as they are required to do. This requirement was established under a 2004 resolution of which Albania is a signatory.
Exit then asked the spokesperson on two separate occasions if they could issue a formal denial from the Ministry of Defence but no response was received.
As the sale of arms is allowed and no sanctions are currently in place, one has to ask why the government did not notify the UN as their predecessors did.
The UN warned that arms being sent to the DR Congo military are ending up in the hands of militias. The country has been gripped in violence for years but recently around 1000 people have been killed and more than half a million displaced.