France seeks tougher sanctions on Libyans who block political solution

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France on Monday called for stronger UN sanctions on Libyans who stand in the way of a political solution in the conflict-ridden country.

The current situation “forces us to show greater firmness toward those who want to insist on the status quo for their sole benefit,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told reporters at the United Nations.

“The sanctions recently imposed by the Security Council against a number of traffickers should be followed by further sanctions, especially, I think, against militia members who threaten Tripoli,” he said.

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The UN Security Council in June slapped sanctions against six human smugglers amid outrage over slavery in Libya, which has become a major transit point for migrants heading into Europe in the chaos since the Western military campaign that helped topple dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

Last week the internationally recognized government in Tripoli called on the United Nations to do more to protect civilians and end fighting near the capital that has claimed more than 100 lives since August.

Cash flow control

Le Drian, whose government has been pushing a peace plan that includes elections by the end of the year, also called for stricter control of the cash flow from sales of Libyan oil to prevent funding of hostile groups.

The feuding militias come mostly from Libya’s third city Misrata and the town of Tarhouna to the southeast of the capital, with fighting flaring despite a ceasefire reached on September 4.

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Le Drian, speaking on the eve of the annual General Assembly, also urged countries to mobilize to end the war in Syria, which has claimed more than 360,000 lives since 2011.

Syrian President “Bashar al-Assad but also those who support him have a responsibility to work for a political solution,” Le Drian said. “If not, we risk heading toward a sort of perpetual war in the area,” he said.