Libya: GNA gets backing for UN embargo “exemption”

The Vienna conference held on Monday with the participation of the permanent members of the Security Council and several Arab and European countries decided that the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) should be exempted from the UN arms embargo on Libya to be able to fight the militants of the Islamic State (IS) in the country.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said it was “imperative” to stop the “new threat” posed by IS saying the GNA is “the only entity that can unify the country” and arming it “is the only way to ensure that vital institutions… fall under representative and acknowledged authority.”

The GNA created the Presidential Guard last month and urged rival militia groups to rally behind it under a civilian command. Kerry said supporting the government to overcome the IS group is “the only way to generate the cohesion necessary to defeat Daesh (IS).”

The decision to exempt the GNA from the arms embargo will require the approval of the UN Sanctions Committee before it can be implemented but Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said lifting the embargo “can be discussed only after an agreement is reached among all forces that participate in this process.”

Among the criteria he mentioned was the GNA getting “an approval from the national assembly (the House of Representatives in Tobruk) to see efficient state institutions formed.” The Tobruk-based parliament has failed to grant a vote of confidence to the GNA due to major differences between lawmakers.

Written by