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UN Security Council keeps in place Libya arms embargo

March 27, 2015

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution on Libya that keeps in place an arms embargo which the country’s Western-recognized government says is hurting efforts to defend itself against the rise of the Islamic State group.

The resolution instead urges a U.N. sanctions committee on Libya to “consider expeditiously” the government’s requests for exemptions to the arms embargo.

Libya and neighboring Egypt last month urgently requested international aid, including the lifting of the embargo, after a video of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians announced the presence of Islamic State group supporters in the oil-rich North African country.

But council members worry that weapons will leak to the multiple armed groups in Libya, which has split into two governments, one supported by Islamist-backed militias. Earlier this month, eight of the council’s 15 members put a hold on Libya’s request for dozens of fighter jets, tanks and other weapons the country said it desperately needs.

A recent report by a U.N. panel of experts said Libya’s ability to control the flow of arms is “almost nonexistent.”

The council on Friday also unanimously approved another resolution extending the U.N. mission in the country for another six months. It also calls for an immediate cease-fire and urges all parties to engage in U.N.-led efforts to form a national unity government.

Libya has plunged into chaos since the 2011 overthrow and death of former dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The power struggle and fierce fighting among rival militias has opened the way for the Islamic State group’s expansion.

Negotiations between the rival governments took another break Thursday, with a deal remaining elusive.

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