By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 13 May 2016:
Washington has reportedly indicated it is prepared to back a partial lifting of the UN . . .[restrict]arms embargo on Libya to permit weapons to be supplied to the Government of National Accord so it can tackle IS.
Any such move however may well be blocked in the UN Security Council by Russia. Moscow is continuing to insist that the Presidency Council headed by prime minister-designate Faiez Serraj will have no legal standing until endorsed by the House of Representatives as is required under the UN-backed Libyan Political Agreement.
A senior White House official has been reported as saying that the Obama administration was ready to ease the arms embargo. “If the Libyan government prepares a detailed and coherent list of things that it wants to use to fight ISIL [IS] and responds to all the requirements of the exemption,” the official told French news agency AFP, “I think that [Security] Council members are going to look very seriously at that request”.
Over and above Moscow’s reaction to arming the Serraj administration, which it still sees as a government-in-waiting, there is the question of where any weapons might be directed. The country is hardly short of armaments of all types.
In the past, diplomats have said that supplying any fresh weaponry in advance of the establishment of a genuine unity government, was as likely to fuel civil conflict as it was enable militias in the west or the Libyan National Army in the east to take on IS.
As it is the embargo is already being flouted. The LNA has been receiving supplies of arms and equipment, including armoured cars and armoured personnel carriers apparently from both Egypt and the UAE. Egypt has been particularly vocal in demanding an end to the UN embargo.
It is being suggested that the arms embargo will be on the agenda at Monday’s Libya security talks in Vienna jointly hosted by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni. [/restrict]