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AFRICA >World powers ready to arm Libya unity government

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REUTERS photo

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World powers said on May 16 that they supported the lifting of an arms embargo on Libya and were ready to supply weapons to the country’s new unity government to help it fight the growing threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“The Government of National Accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the U.N. Libya Sanctions Committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter U.N.-designated terrorist groups and to combat [ISIL] throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts,” read a statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and 24 other top diplomats after talks in Vienna.

ISIL has taken advantage of the chaos left by the toppling and death of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, which left rival militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

A recently formed unity government backed by the international community has been slowly asserting its authority in Tripoli, but it still faces a rival administration in the east.

A total of 25 top diplomats were in attendance, including the U.N.’s special envoy to Libya Martin Kobler and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.

“The key question is whether Libya remains a place where terrorism, people-smuggling and instability continue to flourish or whether we can regain statehood with the new unity government,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said.

May/16/2016

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