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The UN Confirms Initiatives Against Violations on Arms Embargo in Libya

The United Nations Security Council Passes Resolution 2357

Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya. Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Support in Libya (S/2016/452)

In an effort to curtail the crisis in Libya, The UN Security Council voted Resolution 2357 which extends the legal framework in place to inspect vessels suspected to violate the arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya. Italy was represented in the Council by Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Vincenzo Amendola

Italy was particularly relieved in welcoming the unanimous approval by the Security Council of Resolution 2357 , which extends the legal framework in place to inspect vessels Suspected to violate the arms embargo on the high seas off the coast of Libya.

Currently, the Mediterranean Sea, especially off the coasts of Libya, is facing multiple challenges such as human trafficking, smuggling of not only weapons, but also crude oil and other related products, exacerbating the volatile situation in the country. Italy, the European country closest to Libya, is supporting any initiative that ensures the stability of Libya.  

The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, Hon. Vincenzo Amendola, stated at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya that, “the fight against Daesh, known as the Islamic State ISIL in Libya is a success story. However, it must not stop there. It is Necessary to prevent Daesh remnants to regroup and rearm. The provisions of this Resolution are a critical tool in this crucial endeavor.”

The situation in Libya is extremely complex. Since 2011, there have been violent protests in Benghazi as well as other cities that led to a civil war where foreign intervention aided and eventually oust the killing of the ruthless dictator of 42 years, Col Muammar Gaddafi. Following years of conflict, a UN-backed “unity” government was installed at a naval base in the country’s capital, Tripoli, in 2016. The “unity” government faces opposition from two rival governments and a wide range of militias, which complicates the political and socio-economic climate in the country. With Libya’s reserve of oil and flow of migrants,  it is also becoming an opportunity for blackmailing European countries – especially Italy – and be a bargaining chip for anyone who controls it.  

While the Italian Deputy Minister applauded the success campaign against Daesh, in a Security Council briefing last week, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, Martin Kobler, highlighted the confusion that “parallel institutions continued to exist and the Libyan House of Representatives had Recognized not the Government of National Accord nor did it adopt the Constitutional amendment despite the Libyan Political Agreement Reached in 2015.” 

To make matters worse, the Security Council did not confirm Kobler in this position a few months ago and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has not found yet a nominee that will have a good chance at being confirmed by the Council.  Time is ticking as Kobler leaves within the month of June.

Things get more complicated for Italy and the security of Libya when last month, at the White House,  President Donald Trump openly stated that he wants to keep U.S. involvement out of Libya, thus leaving the Prime Minister of Italy, Paolo Gentiloni, without any backing from the U.S.

It looks like Italy will continue its struggle in pushing the Security Council towards finding an effective solution for this unstable country.

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