Libyan FM calls for lifting of weapons ban

Published January 18th, 2016 - 06:30 GMT

The Libyan foreign minister of the internationally recognised Tobruk government, said on Monday that Libya is keen on completing its national unity government, after the formation was postponed from its Saturday deadline.

Mohamed al-Dairi said in the meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukri in Cairo that his country is facing a fateful war with the self-proclaimed Islamic State [Daesh], especially after ISIS was able to reach the Libyan oil crescent.

He added that the international community has demanded the formation of a government as a primary condition before the ban on the Libyan army can be lifted. Dairi stressed that he is against any foreign military intervention in his country.  

He followed up the call by adding that the Libyan military needs the ban to be lifted so that it can "combat" ISIS.

Libyan capital Tripoli has fallen under the control of the Fajr Libya or Libya Dawn Islamist militia in August 2014. Meanwhile, Egypt and the international community only recognise authorities based in the eastern Libyan city of Tobruk.  

The United nations has repeatedly called on Libyan parties to urgently implement the Libyan Political Agreement and to form the Government of National Accord. The UN security coundil also called on "the finalization of interim security arrangements necessary for stabilizing Libya."

Dairi said that the ISIS "is trying to make up for its losses in Iraq and Syria by imposing control over Libyan cities and this has shown its latest operations in Zliten which led to the killing of 70 people in January."

On Jan. 7, shortly after the attack, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon condemned "the deadly terrorist attack" that took place near the police base in Zliten, western Libya.

ISIS has declared control over the Libyan city of Sirte, and seized the city's airport last May after forces for the Tripoli-based government had withdrawn.

Libyan groups signed the "Skhirat Agreements," which call for the formation of committees made up of 10 parliament members to rename a head and deputies of a national consensus government.

The political agreement was signed last on Dec. 17 in Skhirat, Morocco after a political dialogue moderated by the UN envoy  Bernardino Leon.

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has also previously called for the lifting of the weapons ban imposed on Libya. The UN has imposed an arms embargo on Libya since Feb. 2011.

Libya has been caught up in unprecedented violence since mid-2014, when army general Khalifa Haftar declared war on Islamist forces within Libya, prompting nationwide militant fighting.

In February 2015, Egypt's air force conducted air strikes which it says hit militant targets, after the beheading of 20 Egyptians inside Libya at the hands of militants believed to belong to a Libyan division of the Islamic State fighters.


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