December 2, 2019 / 7:45 PM / 10 days ago

After Libya arms embargo breaches, U.N. Security Council warns countries to stop

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council called on all countries on Monday to implement an arms embargo on Libya and to stay out of the conflict after U.N. sanctions monitors accused Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey of repeated violations.

FILE PHOTO: Sirte forces, which are allied to the UN-backed government in Tripoli, deploy in Sirte, Libya March 12, 2019. Pictures taken March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Ayman Al-Sahili/File Photo

The 15-member council urged all states “not to intervene in the conflict or to take measures that would exacerbate the conflict” and expressed concern at “the growing involvement of mercenaries.” Such statements are agreed by consensus.

The council “called for full compliance with the arms embargo,” but any action over reported sanctions violations is unlikely, diplomats said.

Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey have repeatedly violated an arms embargo on Libya and it is “highly probable” that a foreign attack aircraft is responsible for a deadly strike on a migrant detention centre, U.N. experts monitoring the implementation of sanctions on Libya reported last month.

The U.N. missions of Jordan and Turkey did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment at the time on the accusations. The United Arab Emirates said it was “firmly committed to complying with its obligations under the Libya sanctions regime and all relevant Security Council resolutions.”

“The transfers (of military material) to Libya were repeated and sometimes blatant with scant regard being paid to compliance with the sanctions measures,” the independent U.N. experts wrote in the confidential report, due to be published this month.

Libya descended into chaos after a NATO-backed uprising that overthrew leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Thousands of people have been killed in sporadic fighting since 2014 between factions in the east and west. The violence has allowed militants and migrant smugglers to flourish, hit Libya’s oil industry and divided the country’s key institutions.

Earlier this year commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive against the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and its forces in Tripoli. But the war has reached an impasse.

The U.N. experts accuse Jordan and the United Arab Emirates of supplying military material to Haftar’s forces, which they said then prompted Libya’s Government of National Accord to ask Turkey for help.

Haftar is also backed by Egypt and more recently Russian mercenaries, according to diplomats and Tripoli officials. The LNA denies it has foreign backing. The United States has pushed Haftar to end his offensive.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols

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