Fighters loyal to the Libyan internationally recognized Government of National Accord gesture near the front line during clashes against forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, May 2019, south of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Despite a UN embargo, weapons are still flowing into Libya where an assault on the capital by Haftar threatens to escalate into a proxy war between regional powers. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP via Getty Images)

EU to Launch New Mission for Enforcing Libya Arms Embargo

The European Union has reportedly agreed to launch a new mission, which will include a naval component in the Mediterranean, to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya. The decision, which was held up due to opposition from some members of the 28-nation bloc, comes just two days after the UN’s deputy special envoy for Libya described the blockade as a “joke,” adding that “there are violations by land, sea and air… [and] it needs to be monitored and there needs to be accountability.” According to reports, weapons have been flooding into the oil-rich North African country amid ongoing failed efforts to forge a cease-fire between the primary warring factions. For almost a year, strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army has been waging on assault on the capital Tripoli, the seat of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). However, the conflict has assumed an international dimension, with Turkey emerging as the primary backer – both politically and militarily – of GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, and the United Arab Emirates and Egypt providing diplomatic and material support to Haftar. Russia reportedly has mercenaries in the country and has taken a proactive role in trying to end the civil war, which erupted in the wake of the 2011 NATO-led ouster of Moammar Qaddafi.

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