The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to allow inspection of vessels on Libya’s high seas to clampdown on the incidence of arms smuggling, Reuters News Agency reports.
The resolution is meant to check the inflows of arms into the volatile north African country which is suffering from militant insurgent activity as the result of its politically divided leadership.
The council resolution expressed concern that “arms and related materiel are being used by terrorist groups operating in Libya, including ISIL (Islamic State).”
These weapons do not fall from the sky, but come increasingly through illegal shipments by sea and by land. The arms fuel the conflict. These shipments must end if there is any serious hope of bringing peace to Libya.
The UN Security Council has approved an EU resolution to expand its naval operation in the Med to blockade illicit arms shipments to Libya— Phil Ewing (@philewing) June 14, 2016
Martin Kobler, U.N. envoy to Libya told the Security Council last week that Libya was awash with arms – 20 million pieces of weaponry in the North African state of six million people.
“These weapons do not fall from the sky, but come increasingly through illegal shipments by sea and by land. The arms fuel the conflict. These shipments must end if there is any serious hope of bringing peace to Libya,” he said.
This new move would be expected t innure more to the benefit of the Fayez Al Sarraj Government of national Accord (GNA) which has the backing of the United Nations and is internationally recognised.
Reuters further reports that the European Union had proposed the council resolution to expand its naval operation in the Mediterranean, which the 15-member council authorized in October last year to seize and dispose off boats operated by human traffickers.
Ahead of the vote, French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters that the resolution had “the potential to be a game-changer,” considering that a large quantity of arms is smuggled via ship off the coast of Libya.