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Report Urges SC to Help Libya Secure Territorial Waters

The Libyan government needs help to prevent flow of weapons in and out of the country, says a new report which urges the Security Council to provide a maritime force to do the do the job.

The panel urged the Security Council to form an international maritime force “to assist the Libyan government in securing its territorial waters to prevent the entry into and exit from Libya of arms … the illicit export of crude oil and its derivatives and other natural resources.”

The report, prepared by the U.N. Security Council’s Panel of Experts on Libya, said, according to Reuters, the maritime force is “to assist the Libyan government in securing its territorial waters to prevent the entry into and exit from Libya of arms … the illicit export of crude oil and its derivatives and other natural resources.”

The report could put pressure on the SC to respond positively to the Libyan government’s repeated demands to lift arms embargo in order to fight the spread of terrorism and extremist militias now controlling the capital Tripoli.

Earlier this month, Libya and Egypt asked the United Nations Security Council to lift the arms embargo on Libya, impose a naval blockade on areas not under government control such as Tripoli and Misurata ports and help build Libya’s army to tackle Islamic State and other militants.

The panel said that UN exemptions aimed at enabling Libyan authorities to buy munitions to establish law and order have helped militias develop considerable arsenals.

One example cited in the report involved the council’s 2013 approval for Belarus to export 3,000 tons of ammunition to Libya.

The panel wrote that in February 2014 much of the first shipment from Belarus was not only “diverted upon arrival at Tripoli airport by brigades controlling it, but some of the deliveries appear to have been made directly to autonomous armed groups.”

There were 15 other flights from Belarus. “This raises the possibility that further shipments may have been diverted by the Zintani brigades and the panel is still investigating,” it said.

But the report fails to mention flights carrying weapons from Turkey and Qatar via Sudan to anti-government militias that are allied with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State to Misurata airport and Maaitiqa airport in Tripoli.

Libya Dawn militias, armed groups allied with the Muslim Brotherhood which failed to win the parliamentarian elections, burned up the Tripoli International Airport, the largest airport in Libya, in July 2014 and took control of government institutions in the capital forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

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