UN laments ‘blatant’ violations of Libya arms embargo

Fighters loyal to the UN-recognised Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) secure the area of Abu Qurain, half-way between the capital Tripoli and Libya's second city Benghazi. (AFP/File)
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Updated 04 September 2020

UN laments ‘blatant’ violations of Libya arms embargo

NEW YORK: The interim UN envoy for Libya, Stephanie Williams, on Wednesday denounced what she called “blatant” ongoing violations of the arms embargo in effect on the war-wracked country.
Since UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last briefed the Security Council on July 8 about 100 resupply flights landing in Libya to help forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and its rival forces led by Khalifa Haftar in eastern Libya.
Nine cargo ships docked in western Libya, while three others reportedly arrived in the east of the country. She also accused foreign powers of “fortifying their assets” on both sides.
“The arms embargo remains totally ineffective,” according to an interim report from UN experts, who added that the violations are “extensive, blatant and with complete disregard for the sanctions.”
Williams said the activity “constitutes an alarming breach of Libya’s sovereignty, a blatant violation of the UN arms embargo.”
The UN mission in Libya, whose mandate is up for renewal in mid-September, “continues to receive reports of large-scale presence of foreign mercenaries and operatives,” she said.
Williams added that their presence complicates “chances of a future settlement.”
Russia’s UN envoy, Vassily Nebenzia, rejected any accusation of Russian interference.
“Not a single Russian serviceman is currently in Libya,” he said, while his US counterpart Kelly Craft slammed the presence of Russian mercenaries linked to the Kremlin.
“There is no place for foreign mercenaries or proxy forces in Libya, including the Russian Ministry of Defense proxy Wagner Group, which is fighting alongside” Haftar, she said.
France’s UN Ambassador Nicolas de Riviere called for a reinforcement of the world body’s mission in Libya, so that it can help shepherd an eventual cease-fire and ensure that the arms embargo is respected.
Several Council members called for a quick nomination of a permanent UN special envoy for Libya.
Ghassan Salame stepped down in March for health reasons, and bickering between the US and its partners on how the role should be defined has stalled naming a successor.
Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran ruler Muammar Qaddafi.
The GNA and a Haftar-backed eastern administration are now vying for power against a backdrop of dozens of local conflicts.


UAE reports 674 new COVID-19 cases, a decrease from the previous day

Updated 23 min 54 sec ago

UAE reports 674 new COVID-19 cases, a decrease from the previous day

  • UAE says 761 cases recovered from coronavirus
  • Kuwait records 385 cases and 3 deaths

DUBAI: The UAE on Sunday recorded 674 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 84,916.
The Ministry of Health and Prevention said 761 people recovered from coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 74,273, while the death toll stands at 404.
Dubai Economy, in cooperation with Dubai Sports Council, said it closed three sports facilities, issued nine fines and gave 35 warnings to a number of fitness centers, clubs, academies and sporting events for not adhering to anti COVID-19 measures.

Dubai Economy also issued fines to 10 other establishments, including shops and a gym, and issued warnings to seven more.
Sharjah Police said it had arrested a person who was infected with the virus and knowingly broke isolation rules.
Elsewhere, Kuwait recorded 385 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths, bringing the total numbers to 99,434 and 584 respectively.

The health ministry said that 670 cases have recovered from the virus, totalling 90,168 cases.
In Oman, the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 93,475, the death toll stood at 846, and recoveries reached 85,418.