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UN Diplomats Talk About Lifting Libya’s Arms Embargo

(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)

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Revenue from Libya’s recent oil exports has begun to flow into the country’s economy. Diplomats who held a meeting in New York said the revenue should only be used to strengthen the Libyan unity government (GNA) and “strengthen Libya’s economy for the benefit of all Libyans.”

Currently there are two powers in Libya vying for control of the country, in addition to various militias scattered across the country. However, the GNA is the only power in Libya that is backed by the United Nations, United States and the international community.

On Thursday, a joint statement was released by diplomats from 22 countries and four international organizations calling on the various political groups in Libya to set aside their differences to end their battles with one another and unify for the sake of restoring peace, stability and security in Libya.  

Secretary of State John F. Kerry chaired the meeting in New York along with Italy’s Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, and the meeting was attended by representatives from countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. All the diplomats who attended that meeting were also participating in the UN General Assembly.

The meeting took place a day after the first oil export, a shipment carrying over 770,000 barrels of oil from Ras Lanuf oil port, made its way to Italy. After rogue general Khalifa Haftar forcefully took over oil ports in eastern Libya earlier this month, many feared that the oil shipment would not go through.

Haftar backs the House of Representatives, the Libyan parliament based in the eastern city of Tobruk. It is still unclear who of the two vying powers will be receiving the revenue from the oil exports.

The diplomats requested that the GNA run elections by next year and to work towards unifying Libya’s military powers. The diplomats also offered to provide training and equipment and even discussed easing off on the arms embargo to allow military forces loyal to the GNA to fight off terrorist groups.

“We share the Libyan people’s desire to transform Libya to become a secure, democratic, prosperous and unified state, where state authority and the rule of law prevail,” said the joint statement. “This can only be achieved peacefully through inclusive political dialogue and national reconciliation.”

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