Ministers seek to reinforce drive to cut Libya arms supplies

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Foreign ministers and other top officials from about a dozen countries gathered Sunday in Germany to keep up the push for peace in Libya after countries with interests in its long-running civil war agreed to respect a much-violated arms embargo and back a full cease-fire.

With this meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, Germany and the UN were seeking to keep up a drive to cut off outside military support for the warring parties. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said the January 19 agreement by leaders in Berlin has been repeatedly violated by continuing arms deliveries and escalating fighting.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.

A weak UN-recognized administration that now holds the capital of Tripoli and parts of the country’s west is backed by Turkey, which recently sent thousands of soldiers to Libya, and to a lesser degree Qatar and Italy as well as local militias.

On the other side is a rival government in the east that supports Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Hafter, whose forces launched an offensive to capture the Libyan capital of Tripoli last April.

Since the Berlin summit, the rival Libyan military factions have met in Geneva in a UN-led effort to forge a lasting truce. A first round faltered when officials concluded negotiations without signing an agreement, though another round of talks is expected next week.

On Wednesday, the UN Security Council endorsed a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya and condemned the recent increase in violence in the oil-rich North African country.

The European Union, whose foreign ministers are set to discuss Libya on Monday, is considering whether and how to have naval ships enforce the UN arms embargo against Libya.

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