Libya: International Community Willing to Arm GNA

Libya: International Community Willing to Arm GNA

The United States and other major powers Monday in Vienna agreed to train and supply weapons to the UN-backed Libyan unity government to help it overcome the Islamic State (IS.)

Libyan nominal Prime Minister has been calling for lifting the arms embargo imposed on the country five years ago. Faiez Serraj on Sunday in a column published in British Telegraph reiterated the call by putting the west before the fait accompli.

US Secretary of State John Kerry co-host of the Vienna conference said the international community is willing to support the Serraj-led Government of National Accord to overcome IS. However, he insisted, they must ensure that the weapons don’t fall in wrong hands.

The 25 signatories of the statement issued by the conference, including the permanent members of the Security Council, expect the GNA to make a concrete list of weapons it needs to defeat IS, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The final move rests with the UN Security Council to green-light the request.

Already last week, Washington indicated that it was open to ease the embargo to help the unity government to neutralize militants whose progress is ever becoming alarming despite recent relative defeats.

Prime Minister-designate Serraj warned of the urgency of the situation saying that failure to successfully tackle IS in Libya will be detrimental to the international community.

Even though the GNA has been able for form its own military operations room, the US and other countries suggested that Gen. Khalifa Haftar who has been opposed to the UN-sponsored unity government be integrated in the “government structures to avoid a further fragmentation of the country.

Gen. Haftar and the Libyan National Army answering to Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) have recorded significant achievements against the terrorist group in Benghazi and Derna, near Sirte.

The Vienna gathering stressed the need to collaborate with GNA to put a stop to migrant trafficking taking place on the coasts of Libya. Thousands of illegal migrants have been embarking on perilous trips across the Mediterranean to join European coasts. Thousands have died but western powers believe the number may grow dramatically in the near future.

The 25 nations also threw their full support behind the GNA as they announced cutting ties with any other administration. The GNA has been struggling to assert its powers in Tripoli and across the country as the former internationally recognized government in Tobruk has refused to submit to UN-backed officials appointed three months ago.

In related report, Serraj ordered his ministers to take office and exercise power despite lack of formal recognition from the HoR. Since arriving in Tripoli and establishing in Tripoli’s naval base, the GNA gradually took control of several ministries including the Foreign Affairs.

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