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.