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Feb 08 2019

Libyan National Army ask UN to impose sanctions on Turkey

The spokesman of commander Khalifa Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), Ahmed Al-Mismari, appealed to the United Nations to impose sanctions against Turkey for supporting extremists in Libya, Russian news website Sputnik reported on Thursday.

Al-Mismari said Turkey had continued supporting extremist groups in Libya and encouraged them to oppose the LNA. Therefore, the UN Security Council should take measures to stop Turkey.

The Libyan customs authority on Wednesday said that it seized nine armoured military vehicles at Khoms port, some 120 km east of the capital Tripoli. The official spokesman for the customs authority, Fahmi Hussain al-Maqouri, said the shipment had come from Turkey.

Al-Mismari said the vehicles were sent to illegal armed organisations which operate on Libyan soil.

Earlier in December, Libyan authorities confiscated Turkish-made firearms and ammunition, as well as hunting rifles and ammunition inside containers at a port near Tripoli. Libya and Turkey agreed to open a joint investigation into the consignment.

Transporting weapons to Libya is banned under a UN arms embargo imposed in 2011, the year civil war broke out in the country. The UN mission in Libya condemned the shipment of arms to Libya as "extremely disconcerting."

Haftar is a dominant figure in eastern Libya where his army in 2017 captured the second-largest city of Benghazi by expelling Islamist and other fighters. The commander is aligned with a government based in the east and is the main rival of Prime Minister Fayez al-Seraj who leads a U.N.-brokered transitional government based in Tripoli.

The oil-rich country remains in a chaotic state six years after the fall of despot Muammar Gaddafi. The UN-backed government struggles to exert control over territory held by rival governments and military factions based in the east and west of the country.