Libya arms embargo breach prompts UN warning


The United Nations Security Council called on all countries to implement an arms embargo on Libya and stay out of the conflict after UN sanctions monitors accused Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey of repeated violations.

The 15-member council urged all states “not to intervene in the conflict or take measures that would exacerbate the conflict” and expressed concern at “the growing involvement of mercenaries.” Such statements are agreed by consensus.

The council “called for full compliance with the arms embargo,” but any action over reported sanctions violations is unlikely, diplomats said.

Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey repeatedly violated an arms embargo on Libya and it is “highly probable” foreign attack aircraft are responsible for a deadly strike on a migrant detention centre, UN experts monitoring the implementation of sanctions on Libya reported last month.

The UN missions of Jordan and Turkey did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment at the time on the accusations. The United Arab Emirates was “firmly committed to complying with obligations under the Libya sanctions regime and all relevant Security Council resolutions.”

“The transfer of military material to Libya was repeated and sometimes blatant with scant regard paid to compliance with the sanctions,” the independent UN experts wrote in the confidential report, due to be published this month.

Libya descended into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising overthrew leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Thousands of people were killed in sporadic fighting since 2014 between factions in the east and west. Violence allowed militants and migrant smugglers to flourish, hit Libya’s oil industry and divided the country’s key institutions.

Earlier this year commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive against the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and its forces in Tripoli. The war is at an impasse.

UN experts accuse Jordan and the United Arab Emirates of supplying military material to Haftar’s forces, which prompted Libya’s Government of National Accord to ask Turkey for help.

Haftar is backed by Egypt and more recently Russian mercenaries, according to diplomats and Tripoli officials. The LNA denies foreign backing. The United States wants Haftar to end his offensive.