EU considers sanctions for Libya peace ‘spoilers’

Sources said the 28-nation bloc could impose an asset freeze and travel ban against Nouri Abusahmain, who heads the Tripoli-based General National Congress. (File photo: Reuters)

The EU is considering sanctions against several Libyan figures for undermining efforts to form a national unity government, a key first step towards bringing peace to the war-torn country, European sources said Tuesday.

The European Union has repeatedly warned it would impose sanctions against anyone “spoiling” a Brussels-backed peace process, amid growing concerns ISIS militants could use oil-rich Libya as a springboard to attack Europe.

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Qaddafi in 2011, with warring militias setting up administrations in the capital Tripoli, and one in Tobruk in the east which is internationally recognized.

The sources said the 28-nation bloc could impose an asset freeze and travel ban against Nouri Abusahmain, who heads the Tripoli-based General National Congress, and premier Khalifa al-Ghwell.

“There should be a political agreement (on sanctions) in the next few days,” one of the European sources told AFP, asking not to be named.

The source said the aim is to “target the spoilers, those who undermine efforts to establish a national unity government which is essential to stabilizing Libya and giving the EU someone it can talk to about security issues, especially combatting Daesh (ISIS).”

The source said Aguila Saleh, who heads the internationally-recognized parliament in Tobruk, could also be hit with sanctions.

Other diplomatic sources confirmed the issue was being discussed but one suggested there was also some reluctance to adopt sanctions at this stage without United Nations backing.

The situation was made more complicated after the Tobruk parliament voted Monday to reject the UN-backed unity government formed last week with the support of less than half the members of the Tripoli assembly.

Lawmakers in Tobruk said the proposed government with 32 ministers was too unwieldy and should not have the power to approve top security and military positions.

Officials said a new unity government would be put together within 10 days.

ISIS has gradually established a presence in Libya and earlier this month tried to seize the Zueitina oil terminal on the coast.

The attack, which left many people dead, showed IS had become a force to be reckoned with and stoked EU concerns that Libya is becoming a major security threat.
 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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