UN hears calls to enforce Libya arms embargo

The EU has urged European countries to send warships back to the Mediterranean to help enforce the Libyan arms embargo. (AFP/File)
Updated 11 June 2019

UN hears calls to enforce Libya arms embargo

  • The council voted unanimously to extend authorization of Operation Sophia until June 2020

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council on Monday renewed a green light to a European Union mission to combat migrant trafficking and arms smuggling off Libya’s coast amid calls for action to cut the flow of weapons.

The council voted unanimously to extend authorization of Operation Sophia until June 2020.

Germany told the council that arms supplies delivered in violation of a UN embargo were the main hurdle in the way of an end to the fighting in Tripoli and a return to political talks.

“A seemingly unlimited arms supply fuel the erroneous belief in the military solution to the conflict and contributes to the unwillingness of actors on the ground to agree on a cease-fire and resume a political process,” said Germany’s Deputy UN Ambassador Juergen Schulz.

“It is time to redouble our efforts, to assume our responsiblity and ... find ways to finally implement the arms embargo effectively,” he told the council.

Belgium also expressed concerns about arms flows as did South Africa. The resolution, first adopted in 2016, allows vessels of the EU operation to inspect ships in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying weapons.

The EU, however, suspended naval patrols in March, leaving it to air missions to keep track of suspicious ships.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has urged European countries to send warships back to the Mediterranean to help enforce the embargo.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame last month called for immediate steps to cut off arms flows to Libya, warning that without quick action, Libya will descend into civil war that could lead to a partition of the country.


Iraqi PM promises to boost protection for US embassy

Updated 2 min ago

Iraqi PM promises to boost protection for US embassy

  • US says one person injured in latest attack on the compound in Baghdad

BAGHDAD: The Iraqi prime minister has promised to strengthen security for the US embassy in Baghdad after one person was injured in the latest missile attack on the compound.
Adel Abdul Mahdi stressed, in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, the importance of respecting Iraq’s sovereignty by everyone.
He also said there was a need to de-escalate tensions in the region, according to a statement from his office.
Gen. Frank McKenzie, a top US commander for the Middle East, said on Monday mortars were used in the attack on the embassy that injured one person and caused some material damage the previous night, not katyusha rockets as was initially reported by staffers and a statement from the military.
The mortar attack started a fire that was put out. He said no US military members were injured, but that one US national received a minor injury but has returned to work.
The US embassy is within the Iraqi capital’s Green Zone, and has been a flashpoint amid wider regional tensions between the US and Iran, which have played out inside Iraq in recent weeks. Iraqi supporters of an Iran-backed militia stormed the embassy compound on Dec. 31, smashing the main door and setting fire to the reception area.
An initial military statement said at least five katyusha rockets had landed inside the Green Zone late Sunday. It was the third attack targeting the US embassy this month, and the perpetrators were not immediately known. Perpetrators had used katyusha rockets in previous attacks and caused no injuries.
There was no claim of responsibility for any of the attacks. But the US has accused Iran-backed militias of targeting US interests by attacking military bases housing Americans and diplomatic missions.

*With AP