UN demands all countries enforce arms embargo on Libya

Security Council resolution also orders withdrawal of all mercenaries from conflict

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016, file photo, a fighter of the Libyan forces affiliated to the Tripoli government scans for targets from the minaret of a mosque in Sirte, Libya. The warring parties in Libya and their international backers — the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Jordan vs Turkey and Qatar — violated a U.N. arms embargo on the oil-rich north African country that remains “totally ineffective,” U.N. experts said in a new report. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Tuesday demanding that all countries enforce the widely breached UN arms embargo on Libya and withdraw all mercenaries from the nation.

The council also called for talks and a ceasefire in the war, stressing it had no military solution. The vote was 13-0, with Russia and China abstaining.

In the years after the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has sunk further into turmoil and is now divided between two rival administrations, based in the country’s east and west.

The resolution’s approval follows a recent report by UN experts monitoring sanctions on Libya that accused its warring parties and their international backers – Russia on one side and Turkey and Qatar on the other – of breaching the arms embargo, saying it remains “totally ineffective”.

The resolution also extended the UN’s political mission in Libya until next September and stressed its “central role in facilitating a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive political process and in achieving a lasting ceasefire”.

The job of former UN special representative Ghassan Salame, who resigned in March, has been split in two, as the US demanded.

A special envoy has been put in charge of the mission to focus on mediating with Libyan and international parties to end the conflict, and a co-ordinator has been appointed to take over day-to-day operations.

The US demand delayed a replacement for Mr Salame and the resolution asks Secretary General Antonio Guterres to appoint a special envoy “without delay”.

Ane possible candidate is the UN’s current top Middle East envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, a former Bulgarian foreign minister, UN diplomats said.

EU members of the Security Council – Belgium, Estonia, France and Germany – and Ireland which will join the council on January 1, said adopting the resolution “is important and comes at a moment of cautious optimism for Libya”.