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UN Hears Calls to Enforce Libya Arms Embargo

UN Hears Calls to Enforce Libya Arms Embargo

Monday, 10 June, 2019 - 17:45
Shell casings are seen on the ground during a fight between members of the LNA and pro-government forces in al-Yarmouk south of Tripoli. (Reuters)

The UN Security Council on Monday renewed a green light to a European Union mission to combat migrant trafficking and arms smuggling off Libya's coast amid calls for action to cut the flow of weapons.

The council voted unanimously to extend authorization of Operation Sophia until June 2020, more than two months after the Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive to cleanse Tripoli of terrorist and criminal gangs.

The resolution, first adopted in 2016, allows vessels of the EU operation to inspect ships in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying weapons.

The EU, however, suspended naval patrols in March, leaving it to air missions to keep track of suspicious ships.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has urged European countries to send warships back to the Mediterranean to help enforce the embargo.

Earlier on Monday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly urged all countries to implement the arms embargo, saying illegal weapons transfers are fueling fighting in the country.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame last month called for immediate steps to cut off arms flows to Libya, warning that without quick action, Libya will descend into civil war that could lead to a partition of the country.

Hundreds of people have died and tens of thousands displaced in the offensive on Tripoli and diplomatic efforts to return to political talks have been deadlocked.

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