The United Nations (UN) has described as “almost nonexistent” any capability by Libya to stop the flow of weapons into and out of the North African country resulting in the reinforcement of militants in the region.
In a new UN report released over the weekend, a panel of experts also called for the creation of a maritime monitoring force by the Security Council “to assist the government of Libya in securing its territorial waters” to prevent the flow of arms.
Libya has already asked the 15-member Council to lift an arms embargo on the country, after militants linked to the ISIL terror group brutally murdered 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in the country.
However, most permanent members of the council argue that they would rather see a unified government in Libya before acting to remove the ban. Libya has two rival governments while multiple militant groups are operating inside it.
The North African country is capable of applying for weapons imports under an exemption in the arms embargo for the Libyan government, but it should be approved by the UN committee that considers such requests, which has been cautious over Libya’s call. Two years ago, weapons approved for the Libyan government fell into the hands of militants instead.
The new UN report called for the arms embargo to be tightened so that even “non-lethal military equipment and the provision of security-related training” need the committee’s approval.
Arms from Libya have “significantly reinforced the military capacity of terrorist groups operating in different parts of the region, including in Algeria, Egypt, Mali and Tunisia in particular,” it said.
The panel, meanwhile, added that a maritime monitoring force could also end the “illegal export of crude oil and its derivatives, and other natural resources,” of Libya.
Libya plunged into chaos following a 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship. The ouster of Gaddafi gave rise to a patchwork of heavily-armed militias and deep political divisions.