20 Jul 2020
The leaders of France, Germany and Italy on Saturday threatened for the first time to use sanctions against countries that continued to violate a United Nations arms embargo on Libya.
French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte urged “all foreign actors to end their increasing interference and to fully respect the arms embargo established by the United Nations Security Council” in a joint statement issued by the French presidency after meeting in Brussels.
“We are ready to consider the possible use of sanctions if the breaches of the embargo at sea, on land or in the air continue, and look forward to the proposals that the High Representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy will make in this regard,” they said.
Turkey has intervened decisively in recent weeks in Libya, providing air support, weapons and allied fighters from Syria to help the internationally recognised government based in Tripoli repel a year-long assault by the forces of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar is backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russia, which have also been accused by the U.N. of breaking the embargo.
The Tripoli-based government on Saturday moved fighters closer to Sirte, a gateway to Libya’s main oil terminals, which the government says it plans to recapture from Haftar’s forces.
France has itself faced criticism for its ambiguity with regard to Haftar, having previously backed him in the fight against Islamist militants.
By John Irish, Reuters, 18 July 2020
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