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Sarraj tells Johnson that Libya looks forward to British support for lifting arms embargo

August 24, 2017 at 12:08 pm

The Chairman of the Presidential Council of the Libyan Government of National Accord has expressed his hope for British government support for the lifting of the arms embargo on Libya. Fayez Al-Sarraj made his comments after a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. He pointed out that the Libyan Coastguard and border guards need to be armed to counter people-trafficking and smuggling.

In March 2011, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 1970, in which it called upon all UN member states “to prevent selling or supplying arms and related materials to Libya, including weapons, ammunition, military and paramilitary vehicles and equipment and spare parts.” The ban was extended for another year in June due to the continued presence of conflicting armed entities in the oil-rich country since the popular revolution overthrew the former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Sarraj pointed to the need to follow up what was agreed upon during Johnson’s visit to Tripoli last May regarding cooperation in the fields of security, health, education and energy. He stressed the deep relations between the “two friendly countries”.

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Libyan flag [file photo]

Libyan flag [file photo]

For his part, Johnson repeated the British government’s full support for the efforts of the Chairman of the Presidential Council to achieve a consensus between the parties in the Libyan political scene. He expressed Britain’s readiness to provide “all the required help to achieve stability in Libya.”

The meeting, which was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Libyan Government of National Accord, Mohammed Al-Taher Sayala, and British Ambassador to Libya Peter Millett, covered a number of political and security issues, in addition to the issue of illegal immigration.

Two governments are fighting for legitimacy in Libya, one of which is the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord in the capital, Tripoli; the other is the “interim government” in Bayda in the east of the country. The latter is affiliated to the Council of Representatives, which is held in Tobruk, and is connected to the forces led by Khalifa Haftar.

In Paris last month, Sarraj and Haftar agreed to a ceasefire, and to disarm and establish a unified army under civilian leadership, as well as hold legislative and presidential elections in 2018. However, since that meeting, there has been little or no progress toward ending the fighting by means of a political solution.