The United States and other allied nations have agreed to provide Libya’s internationally recognized government with weapons, which they say is needed to battle ISIS and other militant groups gaining strength in the region.
United States Secretary of State John Kerry noted the balance of providing such arms, following an international meeting to offer support to the Government of National Accord in Vienna, Austria.
“We are, all of us here today, supportive of the fact that if you have a legitimate government and the legitimate government is struggling against terrorism, that legitimate government should not be made the prisoner or it should not be victimized by virtue of the UN action that has been taken that has always awaited a legitimate government,” CNN quoted Kerry as saying.
“So we believe it makes sense, but obviously, carefully sculpted. And that’s what we will make sure we do,” he added. The Libyan Government of National Accord has said that it would submit requests to be exempted from the UN arms embargoes to acquire lethal arms and material in order to counter terrorist groups.
Libya has become a focal point of concern for the United States.
With lack of a functioning central government groups like ISIS have taken advantage of Libya’s ungoverned spaces and established presence there.
According to reports, it is estimated that there are 6,000 ISIS fighters in Libya. Apart from Libya, U.S. Special Forces are operating in other locations across the Middle East and North Africa in preventing ISIS as well as al Qaeda and its affiliates from developing a toehold.
“There are small teams of U.S. forces that are on the ground effectively meeting and getting a better sense of the players on the ground, so that we have a sense of, for example, ISIL’s presence in Libya,” and its “level of strength and the level of strength,” said Peter Cook, Pentagon Press Secretary.
“These are small groups of Americans who have maintained a small presence in Libya for that specific purpose,” he added.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines