UN extends authorization to search ships for violations of Libya arms embargo
The UN Security Council has extended an authorization allowing member states to inspect vessels suspected of violating its arms embargo on Libya for another year.
The Council said in a 5 June videoconference meeting that it had ‘unanimously decided to extend for one year a series of authorizations for Member States to inspect vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected of violating that country’s arms embargo.’
The authorization allows states ‘acting nationally or through regional organizations, to inspect vessels on the high seas bound to or from Libya, given reasonable grounds to believe that they are in violation of the Council’s arms embargo.’
A UN arms embargo on Libya has been in force since 2011 but largely ignored by countries in the region and beyond. The flood of arms has fueled a civil war that has intensified since last year between the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (‘GNA’) in Tripoli and the Libyan National Army (‘LNA’) led by renegade general Khalifa Haftar.
Following May reports that Russia had sent mercenaries and fighter planes to fight for Haftar against GNA forces that are mainly backed by Turkey, the United States has begun to show renewed interest in Libya, warning that arms supplies must stop and the UN embargo respected.
The European Union has also renewed interest in enforcing the embargo. At the start of April, EU countries launched a maritime mission to inspect vessels at sea to ensure they are not carrying arms or illicit cargo to or from Libya.
For more on the background and status of the Libya arms embargo, see the feature article in Issue 90 of WorldECR.