Libya accused the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday of hampering its terrorism fight, while the U.N. envoy to Libya said the growing threat of Islamic State could only be tackled once warring parties agree on a government of national unity.
Libyan U.N. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi complained that the Security Council Libya sanctions committee had not responded to its March request to import weapons, tanks, jets and helicopters to take on Islamic State militants and monitor its borders.
“The committee has indirectly contributed to continuing instability, as well as entrenching terrorism in Libya,” he told the council. “There is premeditated hampering of the efforts of the Libyan government to strengthen its capacity to combat terrorism and to extend its authority to all Libyan territory.”
Under a U.N. arms embargo imposed on the North African state in 2011, the internationally-recognised government is allowed to import arms with the approval of the Security Council committee, which operates on consensus.
But more than half of the 15-member committee put a “hold” on the request, effectively placing it in limbo.
Dabbashi said extremists had been “emboldened by the foot-dragging in the Security Council on arming the Libyan army.”
The United Nations is trying to broker peace in oil-producing Libya, where two rival governments and parliaments are vying for power four years after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.
An armed alliance known as Libya Dawn took over the capital Tripoli and declared its own government and parliament a year ago, driving out the internationally recognised premier and deepening anarchy in the country.
Some Libyan warring factions signed an initial United Nations-sponsored agreement on Sunday to form a unity government and end fighting, but the Tripoli-based parliament – the General National Congress (GNC) – refused to attend.
U.N. special envoy to Libya, Bernardino Leon, told the Security Council: “The door remains open for them to join.”
He warned that the political and security divisions in Libya had prevented the development of a coordinated policy to deal with the threat of Islamic State and other extremist groups.
“A government of national accord can be the only interlocutor through which the growing threat of (Islamic State) and its affiliate groups can be effectively tackled,” he said. “Spoilers should be held accountable, as they bear the responsibility of hindering the political agreement.”
Last month Russia and China blocked a joint proposal by the United States, France, Spain and Britain to blacklist two men linked to the rival administrations in Libya in a bid to boost Leon’s talks.