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  • The U.N. warned that Libya was now awash with advanced weapons.

    The U.N. warned that Libya was now awash with advanced weapons. | Photo: Reuters

Published 17 February 2020

"We all agreed to create a mission to block the entry of arms into Libya," Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi di Maio said.

European Union foreign affairs ministers agreed Monday to launch a new operation in the Mediterranean to enforce a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.

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Libya Arms Embargo Has Become a Joke: UN Envoy

"We all agreed to create a mission to block the entry of arms into Libya," Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Luigi di Maio said, adding that the mission would include a naval element to enforce the embargo - a sticking point for some member states.

The news was confirmed by his German and Austrian counterparts, AFP reported.

The meeting in Brussels comes a day after United Nations Deputy Special Representative to Libya Stephanie Williams said that the arms embargo in place to curb the violent war in Libya has become a meaningless “joke.

As fighting continues despite a fragile truce, the U.N. envoy said that the situation is “complicated because there are violations by land, sea, and air, but it needs to be monitored and there needs to be accountability,” warning that Libya was now awash with advanced weapons.

On Jan. 19, in a Germany-led peace summit all countries with interests in the conflict - as well as the two warring sides - agreed to respect the disregarded international arms embargo on the North African nation.

However, since the meeting, the truce has been ignored many times, as the Libyan National Army (LNA) continues its final push to take Tripoli.

The LNA, which is backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), France and Russia, has been fighting off a ten-month-long offensive over the capital, which is the last stronghold of the U.N.-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of premier Fayez al Sarraj’s, who is backed by Turkey, Qatar, and Italy.

Meanwhile and as part of the agreements made in Berlin, Libya’s warring sides met on Feb. 3 to continue to look for a permanent ceasefire during the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission organized by the U.N.

The first round of talks faltered when officials concluded negotiations without signing an agreement, though another round of talks is expected next week.

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