Originally set to be voted on today, the extension of the EU’s Libya arms embargo was approved by the UN on Friday, resulting in a year-long renewal.
Operation Irini, which was launched in April, seeks to prevent the illegal import or export of oil and weapons to and from Libya, primarily by monitoring Mediterranean waters. In doing so, the Brussels’ goal is to bring together the two warring sides—the UN-recognised, Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) and Khalifa Haftar’s Russian-backed, self-declared Libyan National Army (LNA)—to negotiate once more after their failure to do so at the Berlin Conference in February.
Despite the embargo’s extension, there is little optimism for its continued implementation. Turkey and Russia, among others, have repeatedly violated the embargo in the past by deploying troops and procuring arms to Libya.
Moreover, the unilateral ceasefire offer made by Haftar on Saturday was prompted not so much by the ongoing embargo but by the LNA’s repeated military defeats since March. While Haftar’s softening attitude is a step forward, it is also possible that his offer is a tactic to buy time in preparation to resume the war. Even if his offer is genuine, do not expect an end to combat in the short-term as the GNA announced on Thursday that it would reject any attempt to negotiate with the LNA.
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Esra is an analyst on the Current Developments division and a member of The Daily Brief’s research team. She specialises in political and security issues with a particular focus on the Middle East and North Africa.