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US ready to ‘loosen Libya arms embargo’

Libya had asked for an end to the arms embargo last year to allow them to build up and army to take on groups like ISIS

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The US government is ready to loosen a United Nations ban on arms exports to Libya, in a bid to help the country's fledgling unity government fight ISIS, officials and diplomats told AFP.

"If the Libyan government prepares a detailed and coherent list of things that it wants to use to fight ISIL, and responds to all the requirements of the exemption, I think that (UN Security) Council members are going to look very seriously at that request," a senior administration official told AFP, using an alternate acronym for ISIS.

"There is a very healthy desire inside of Libya to rid themselves of ISIL, and I think that is something we should be supporting and responding to."

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution in March last year to step up the fight against Islamic extremists in Libya but without lifting the arms embargo.

Libya, backed by Egypt, had asked for an end to the arms embargo to allow the embattled government to build up its army and take on groups such as ISIS.

The United States gave jeeps, communications technology and small aircraft to Tunisia on Thursday to help protect the border with Libya, where ISIS has gained ground and set up training camps, officials said.

The North African country was also expecting to receive a number of attack aircraft, Defense Minister Farhar Horchani said, though he did not give details on who would supply them.

Tunisia has already built a 200-km (120-mile) barrier along the frontier to guard against militants since gunmen trained in Libya targeted tourists in attacks on a beach hotel and a Tunis museum last year.

(With Reuters)

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