Libya: blatant violations of arms embargo continue - UN

In past two months, 100 resupply flights landed in country

03 September, 16:51

    ROME - UN Head of Mission in Libya Stephanie Williams said blatant violations of the UN arms embargo in Libya are continuing, and said the military assistance from various foreign sponsors to General Khalifa Haftar and the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj is "deplorable". Williams said in the past two months, 70 resupply flights landed in airports in eastern Libya, dominated by Haftar, while 30 resupply flights were dispatched to the country's west, under the control of the government of al-Sarraj. She said this "constitutes an alarming breach of Libya's sovereignty" and "a blatant violation of the UN arms embargo".

    "We continue, in addition, to receive reports of large-scale presence of foreign mercenaries and operatives," Williams said, adding that this complicates the situation in the country. She said on the ground, an "uneasy stand-off" continues around Sirte, imperiling the lives of the coastal city's 130,000 inhabitants as well as the country's vital oil infrastructure which comprises its economic lifeline. During the night between September 1 and 2, rockets were fired by forces affiliated with General Haftar and although the rockets didn't cause any damage or injuries, Williams said they "are a breach of the ceasefire". In addition, Williams said "political and military instability in Libya is further compounded by degraded socio-economic conditions." "The partial lifting of the oil blockade announced by Haftar's forces didn't reduce the energy crisis in Libya. In Tripoli, people live 20 hours a day without electricity," she said. "We must make the full lifting of oil blockade, which has been in place since January, a top priority," Williams said, highlighting that "the use of oil as a weapon of war has only exacerbated the misery of the Libyan people and propelled the country towards economic and social collapse".

    Williams said the situation of migrants and refugees on Libyan soil continues to be a source of great concern. On August 17, at least 45 migrants died off the coast of Libya while attempting to cross the Mediterranean towards Europe. Williams said this shows "Libya cannot be considered as a safe port for disembarkation".

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