The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution Friday renewing the European Union’s permission to inspect vessels off Libya’s coast suspected of violating the an arms embargo on the troubled North African nation.
The vote on the resolution sponsored by France and Malta was 14-0, with Russia abstaining, just as it did last year. It claimed the EU operation has been ineffective in stopping the flow of illegal weapons to Libya.
The brief resolution extends the authorization for inspections for a year and reaffirms the Security Council’s “determination that terrorism, in all forms and manifestations, constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security.” The authorization to monitor the U.N. arms embargo can be extended to other countries and regional organizations.
Oil-rich Libya plunged into turmoil after a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed. It then became divided between rival governments — one in the east, backed by military commander Khalifa Hifter, and a U.N.-supported administration in the capital, Tripoli. Each side is supported by different militias and foreign powers.
The arms embargo monitoring effort has been carried out since March 2020 by a European Union mission called Operation Irini, the Greek word for “peace.” The EU said at the start that it would have as “its core task the implementation of the U.N. arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets.”
In its latest report at the end of March, Operation Irini said that since its launch it has boarded and inspected 25 suspect vessels and seized cargo assessed to be violating the arms embargo on three occasions. It said Turkish-flagged vessels have denied Irini consent to board and inspect suspected vessels on 10 occasions.
Operation Irini has also investigated 8,958 merchant vessels by seeking information in radio calls and visited 447 vessels with their masters’ consent, and it has also investigated 1,146 suspect flights, 25 airports and 16 ports. In March, Irini said, it investigated 311 merchant vessels via radio calls and carried out 13 ship visits.