U.S., other nations back arming Libya’s government to fight ISIS

 US-other-nations-back-arming-Libyas-government-to-fight-ISIS.  VIENNA,  The U.S. government and 20 other nations pledged Monday to assist Libya’s government in its fight against the Islamic State.

Secretary Kerry addresses reporters during a news conference in Vienna, Austria, on May 16, 2016, following a Libya Ministerial Meeting attended by representatives of 22 countries — including Libya — and four international organizations. Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department
















U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the nations would attempt to get an exemption from a United Nations arms embargo.

Libyan Prime Minister Faiez Serraj has been pushing for Western powers to ease the embargo, which was instituted five years ago, but allowed for exceptions to secure the country and fight IS.

Kerry said because IS, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, is a “new threat” to Libya, it is “imperative” it be stopped.

The Government of National Accord “is the only entity that can unify the country,” Kerry said after the talks with the other nations. “It is the only way to ensure that vital institutions … fall under representative and acknowledged authority.

“It is the only way to generate the cohesion necessary to defeat Daesh.”

The prime minister of Libya’s unity government, Fayez Sarraj, pleaded for help from other nations.

“We are not talking about international intervention, we are talking about international assistance in training, equipping our troops and training our youths,” he said.

Four nations — the United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy — have said they only would ease the embargo and intervene militarily if the unity government forms a centralized military.

A joint statement from the countries at the summit noted Libya’s role in Europe’s migrant crisis.

“We look forward to partnering with the GNA and neighboring countries to tackle the threat posed throughout the Mediterranean and on its land borders by criminal organisations engaged in all forms of smuggling and trafficking, including in human beings,” it said.

On Tuesday, the 7-nation Syria Support Group also will meet in Vienna to discuss the stalled talks, the cease-fire and the United Nation’s troubled efforts in delivering humanitarian aid.

By Allen Cone