US ready to loosen Libya arms embargo

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News
Comments Off on US ready to loosen Libya arms embargo

The US government is ready to loosen a ban on arms exports to Libya, in a bid to help the country’s fledgling unity government fight the Islamic State group, officials and diplomats have told AFP.

Under White House-backed plans, the United Nations would carve out exemptions to an embargo introduced by the Security Council in 2011, during Muammar Gaddafi’s failed attempt to suppress a popular uprising.

“If the Libyan government prepares a detailed and coherent list of things that it wants to use to fight ISIL and responds to all the requirements of the exemption, I think that Council members are going to look very seriously at that request,” a senior administration official told AFP.

“There is a very healthy desire inside of Libya to rid themselves of ISIL [also known as ISIS] and I think that is something we should be supporting and responding to,” the official said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.

Gaddafi’s regime was deposed with the help of Nato air power in 2011 and he was ultimately killed in October of that year, but the country has been in turmoil since.

Dozens of militia groups have carved up the country into virtual fiefdoms, and two rival governments have been formed.

Western nations and many Libyans have watched in horror as the jihadist ISIS group has emerged from the chaos to control a swathe of central Libya around Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.

With its port and airport, there are fears the jihadists could use the Mediterranean city as a staging post for attacks on Europe.

They have already hit nearby oil installations, choking much-needed oil revenues.

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