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Libya & Egypt Ask to Lift Arms Ban to Fight IS, Italy Offers Help
Feb 21, 2015

Libya and Egypt asked the United Nations Security Council to lift an arms embargo on Libya and help it build the army so it can tackle Islamic State and other extremist groups.

  • Libya said that Islamic State and other militants in Libya can only be defeated with a united government in place that has strong international support.

  • For this Libya needs a decisive stance from the international community to help it build national army's capacity and this would come through a lifting of the embargo on weapons.

  • Lifting arms embargo Libya can receive materiel and weapons so as to deal with this rampant terrorism.

  • The Libyan government is allowed to import weapons and related materiel with the approval a UN Security Council committee that oversees and arms embargo imposed in 2011.

  • Libya has descended into factional fighting, leaving the country almost lawless nearly four years after Muammar Gaddafi's fall. 

  • Two competing governments backed by militia brigades are scrambling for control.

  • The United Nations is mediating between the rival factions in a bid to get them to forge a unity government and end hostilities.

  • Egypt directly intervened for the first time in the conflict in neighbouring Libya after Islamic State released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians.

  • Egypt backed Libya's call for the arms embargo to be lifted and also called for concrete measures to prevent the acquisition of arms by all non-state militias and entities through the imposition of a naval blockade on arms heading to areas of Libya outside the control of the legitimate authorities.

  • Italy also called for urgent international action to halt Libya's slide into chaos, and pledged it was ready to help monitor a ceasefire and train local armed forces.

In Libya, Islamic State has found fertile ground in the growing post revolution political instability, capitalizing also on the weakness of state institutions and state security sector. Defeating terrorism in Libya can only be achieved through the political and institutional determination of a united Libyan government, which will need the strong and unequivocal support from the international community in confronting the myriad challenges facing Libya.


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