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Past Indecision …Major Powers Give Arms to GNA, Libya | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gives opening remarks after Libya Ministerial Meeting in Vienna

Washington, Cairo- After several hesitations on choosing the most adequate way to aid Libya in confronting the impending chaos and threatening terrorist militias; major powers and Libya’s neighboring countries on Monday backed lifting the arms embargo on Tripoli, Libya.

Major powers expressed their promptness on delivering arms to the National Accord Government (GNA) lead by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

The Vienna ministerial meeting, convened with the participation of 25 nations and committees, approved the GNA’s request on lifting the ban on weapons. Lifting the ban will help the GNA confront ISIS.

The international community undertook upon itself to support Libya’s Government of National Accord, which intends to submit an arms embargo exemption to the U.N. Libya Sanctions Committee soon.

Moreover, the major powers supported creating a joint room for military operations, facilitating intelligence information exchange and coordination of missions against terrorist organizations.

The operations room will aid the Libyan national army. Forming of a presidential guard, which would act as core support to the national army, was also among the bolstered proposals at the meeting.

Participants at the Vienna meeting excluded propositions on direct foreign intervention in Libya.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who co-chaired the meeting with Italian peer Paolo Gentiloni, said: “The international community will support the Presidency Council as it seeks exemption from the U.N. arms embargo to acquire those weapons and bullets needed to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups.”

Al-Sarraj reiterated that his government will provide an arms inventory listing all weapons and ammunition needed. He added that his country does not require foreign intervention as much as it is asking for support.

Al-Sarraj also said: “We’ve called for lifting the embargo on arms to support the joint command and the military establishment. We’ve called for equipping and arming the presidential guard, which will have a clear role in fighting extremism and securing key institutions, and it’s not a substitute to police or the army.”

Al-Sarraj, calling the international community to support Libya, said: “We’re not talking about international intervention. We’re talking about international assistance and training, equipping our troops and training our youth.”

Foreign Ministers from Turkey, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the UK, the U.S., the EU, U.N., the League of Arab States, and the African Union all signed on the joint communique at the end of their meeting on Libya in Vienna Monday, in which they expressed “strong” support for the Libyan people and implied their support for the arms embargo being lifted.

Gentiloni said that the government factor is a crucial ingredient to stabilize Libya.

“With stabilization, we can fight terrorism; we can assure development to a country with rich potentialities but with a strong humanitarian crisis now. We can tackle the migration issue; we can develop the resources of Libya. Without stabilization, we risk tensions, divisions, and intra-Libyans fights,” he added.

Moreover, a U.S. official told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that the U.S. alongside four other U.N. Security Council members are willing to support the GNA. They will back lifting the embargo and present required military training and equipping to the GNA.