Libya appeals for Russia support over arms embargo
MOSCOW - The prime minister of Libya's internationally recognised government appealed Wednesday for Russia's help in securing the lifting of an arms embargo on the conflict-torn nation.
Abdullah al-Thani asked for Moscow's assistance in removing the United Nations' weapons ban during a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
"We would like to ask Russia to take the side of the Libyan people and support the restoration of state institutions and security measures in the country," Thani said.
Thani called on Moscow to take steps "within international organisations, to end an embargo on arms supplies to the Libyan army and launch a process to restore the combat readiness of the Libyan armed forces".
Libya's beleaguered authorities appealed in February to the UN Security Council to lift an arms embargo to allow its military to fight Islamic State jihadists in the country.
Western powers have been reluctant to lift the arms embargo in order to supply the authorities given that they control only scraps of territory across the country.
"Countries in the West must fully take responsibility on themselves for the chaos in Libya," Thani said.
Lavrov said the talks in Moscow were focusing on "how best to move towards the restoration of territorial integrity" in Libya.
Russia is "cooperating with international efforts to stabilise the situation and actively participating," he said.
Libya has descended into chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed revolt that ousted dictator Moamer Gathafi.
Thani's government was forced to flee to the country's east in June after militias, among them Islamists, seized Tripoli and other main cities.
Some militias have pledged allegiance to IS, but the main ones, including the Islamist-backed Fajr Libya coalition that supports a rival government in Tripoli and has been involved in the peace talks, have not done so.