Libya's Sarraj denounces EU arms embargo monitoring operation

Libya's Sarraj denounces EU arms embargo monitoring operation in Mediterranean
2 min read
24 April, 2020
The GNA leader said the EU's operation IRINI to clamp down on arms imports to Libya is not sufficiently monitoring airspace and borders in Haftar-controlled eastern Libya.
Fayez al-Sarraj visits a Tripoli port targeted by LNA strikes in February [Getty]
The leader of Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) has rejected a new EU military initiative in the Mediterranean to monitor the arms embargo to the war-torn country, Al Ahrar TV reported on Friday.

Fayez al-Sarraj told the UN Security Council the mission, known as Operation IRINI, falls short as it does not monitor airspace and borders through which forces loyal to rival commander Khalifa Haftar receive weapons.

He added that reports have shown that weapons and equipment are reaching Haftar's forces via Libya's eastern land and air borders.

Haftar's rival administration is based in Tobruk, in eastern Libya, while the GNA is headquartered in the capital, Tripoli.

Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) has waged an almost year-long assault the capital, resulting in thousands of deaths and mass displacement of civilians.

Operation IRINI was approved by EU foreign ministers on 31 March and was launched on 1 April.

The mission aims to use satellites to monitor air, sea and land in order to enforce an international embargo on providing arms to factions fighting in Libya's civil war.

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The EU operation also intends to clamp down on illegal oil exports and human trafficking as well as helping to train the local coast guard and navy.

The Turkish-backed GNA launched an operation to push back Haftar's forces on 26 March, and has dealt several heavy losses to the warlord's militias.

In recent weeks, Haftar's forces have escalated their use of Grad rockets and artillery shells in Tripoli's densely populated neighborhoods, which by nature cannot be fired precisely and place civilians at grave risk.

The offensive on Tripoli has resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 people, injured close to 6,000 and forced 120,000 people from their homes, according to UN figures.

Evidence for Haftar's complicity in war crimes are mounting. Amnesty International have reported that the rogue general's forces have engaged in indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, such as residential areas and medical facilities.

Most recently, the UN-backed government accused Russian mercenaries fighting on behalf of Haftar's LNA of using chemical weapons against Libyan forces in southern Tripoli.

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