US: Russia continues to violate UN arms embargo in Libya

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pose for a photo prior to their talks in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, southern Russia, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. Pompeo's first trip to Russia starts Tuesday in Sochi, where he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are sitting down for talks and then having a joint meeting with President Vladimir Putin. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Tuesday Russia “continues to threaten Mediterranean stability using a variety of techniques to spread disinformation, undermine national sovereignty, and sow chaos, conflict, and division within countries throughout the region.”

“Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in comments at the MED Dialogue, accused the United States of playing political games in the Mediterranean and stalling the appointment of a new UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Libya.  It’s unfortunate and unhelpful that Mr. Lavrov again gets the facts wrong and attempts to rewrite history.” Pompeo explained.

The US Secretary of State said Washington supports the formation of an inclusive government in Libya that can secure the country and meet the economic and humanitarian needs of the Libyan people. 

“Our overarching goal remains to bring Libyan parties to a negotiated, inclusive UN-facilitated political solution through the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum.” He added.

Pompeo said the US wanted an empowered UN Mission that can accomplish this goal, thus it worked with partners on the UN Security Council to strengthen the UN system and create a UN Special Envoy position and a complementary UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Coordinator in UNSMIL’s 2020 mandate renewal. 

“Russia and China were the only UNSC members to abstain on the Security Council resolution renewing UNSMIL’s mandate.” Pompeo said.

He remarked that Russia supported an assault on the Libyan capital, Tripoli, killing civilians and undermining the UN’s efforts to bring peace to the country.  

“Russia also continues to violate the UN arms embargo; blocked sanctions at the UN Security Council on Mohamed al-Kani, along with the Kaniyat militia, whose egregious violations of human rights are well documented; printed counterfeit Libyan dinars that have destabilized the Libyan economy; and via its proxy, Wagner, fuels the conflict. ” Pompeo further explained.

He said the Libyan government’s release of two Wagner operatives caught undermining Libyan politics is just another example of how Russia uses mercenaries and political shenanigans rather than open democratic means to advance its interests. 


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