Libya calls for Russian support over arms embargo

Officials survey the grounds of the the Moroccan Embassy in Tripoli, Libya after a bomb left in a garbage bin exploded on Monday, April 13, 2015. (AP)

The prime minister of Libya’s internationally recognised government appealed Wednesday for Russia’s help in securing the lifting of an arms embargo on the conflict-torn nation.

Abdullah al-Thinni asked for Moscow’s assistance in removing the United Nations’ weapons ban during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

“We would like to ask Russia to take the side of the Libyan people and support the restoration of state institutions and security measures in the country,” Thinni said.

Thinni called on Moscow to take steps “within international organizations, to end an embargo on arms supplies to the Libyan army and launch a process to restore the combat readiness of the Libyan armed forces.”

Libya’s beleaguered authorities appealed in February to the U..N Security Council to lift an arms embargo to allow its military to fight ISIS militants in the country.

Western powers have been reluctant to lift the arms embargo in order to supply the authorities given that they control only scraps of territory across the country.

“Countries in the West must fully take responsibility on themselves for the chaos in Libya,” Thinni said.

Lavrov said the talks in Moscow were focusing on “how best to move towards the restoration of territorial integrity” in Libya.

Russia is “cooperating with international efforts to stabilize the situation and actively participating,” he said.

Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that ousted dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

Thinnii’s government was forced to flee to the country’s east in June after militias, among them Islamists, seized Tripoli and other main cities.

Some militias have pledged allegiance to ISIS, but the main ones, including the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya coalition that supports a rival government in Tripoli and has been involved in the peace talks, have not done so.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:45 - GMT 06:45