Austria: Ministerial meeting supports Libya's request for 'lethal arms' to fight IS, terrorists

Vienna, Austria (PANA) - A ministerial meeting in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on the deteriorating security situation in Libya has on Monday expressed support for the intention of the Government of National Accord (GNA) to request for arms to counter terrorist groups and combat IS in the North African country.

A joint communique released after the meeting said: "The Government of National Accord has voiced its intention to submit appropriate arms embargo exemption requests to the UN Libya Sanctions Committee to procure necessary lethal arms and materiel to counter UN-designated terrorist groups and to combat Da’esh throughout the country. We will fully support these efforts while continuing to reinforce the UN arms embargo."

The meeting was attended by the US as well as member countries of  the European Union, the Middle East, China, Russia, UN, African Union and the League of Arab States.

The communique obtained by PANA noted that security was key for the future of Libya, adding that the GNA faced critical security challenges, but it did not face them alone.

"We salute the Presidency Council’s creation of the Presidential Guard which will be composed of professional personnel according to Article III of the Presidential Council Decree No 2 to protect national institutions, members of the Presidential Council, and members of the government," it said.

The participants said they recognized the necessity of enhanced coordination efforts between legitimate Libyan military and security forces and urged them to work quickly to implement a unified command in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) of Skhirat, to coordinate the fight against Da’esh and UN-designated terrorist groups in Libyan territory.

"Ensuring security and defending the country from terrorism must be the task of unified and strengthened national security forces. Libyans must fight against terrorism with unity," the communique said.

The participating countries said they looked forward to partnering with the GNA and neighbouring countries to tackle the threat posed throughout the Mediterranean and on its land borders by criminal organizations engaged in all forms of smuggling and trafficking, including in human beings.

"We appreciate the cooperation between Libyan authorities, neighbouring countries, and the European Union aimed at dismantling the business model used by the criminal networks, including through building the capacity of the Libyan Coast Guard. We are ready to respond to the Libyan government’s requests for training and equipping the Presidential Guard and vetted forces from throughout Libya," the communique said.

They also reiterated their commitment to ceasing support to and official contact with parallel institutions. "The GNA is the sole legitimate recipient of international security assistance and is charged with preserving and protecting Libya’s resources for the benefit of all its people. While deploring recent oil and arms transactions made outside the scope of the GNA, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the arms embargo and measures concerning illicit oil exports, established pursuant to UN Security Council 2278 and other relevant resolutions."

The communique stressed that Libya’s national economic institutions, including the Central Bank of Libya (CBL), National Oil Corporation (NOC), and Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), must function under the sole stewardship of the GNA.

It said the international community was willing to reopen diplomatic missions in Tripoli as soon as possible, adding that the GNA shall take all necessary measures in order to provide the security conditions that would allow the return of the diplomatic missions.

The countries welcomed the presence of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sirraj and commend his leadership in guiding Libya’s institutions through seating the government in Tripoli, a turning point in the Libyan political process.

"We express our strong support for the Libyan people in maintaining the unity of Libya," the communique said, and reaffirmed "our support for the implementation of the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) of Skhirat, Morocco, signed on 17 December, 2015, and for the Government of National Accord (GNA) as the sole legitimate government of Libya, as stated in the Rome Communique of 13 December, 2015, and endorsed in UN Security Council Resolution 2259.

"We urge all parties to work constructively towards the completion of the transitional institutional framework, particularly by enabling the House of Representatives to fully carry out its role as outlined in the LPA."

The communique renewed their firm support to Libya’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and unity, adding that they shared the Libyan people’s aspiration to transform the country into a secure and democratic state, achieve unity and reconciliation, and restore the rule of law and state authority.

The countries commend the efforts of the neighbouring countries, the regional countries, the African Union, the League of Arab States, the European Union, and the United Nations to contribute to achieving these goals and reiterated their full political backing for the efforts of Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General Martin Kobler and commended his recent outreach to various Libyan communities.
-0- PANA MA/AR 16May2016

16 may 2016 17:48:50

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