UN to End Arms Embargo on Libya, Extend Mission by a Year

The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote next week to end an arms embargo on Libya and extend the mandate of its political mission there by a year, according to U.K. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant.

Grant, who this month holds the presidency of the 15-member body, told reporters today that a draft resolution will be voted on in the coming days. Some Council members had sought a shorter renewal of six months, he said.

Addressing the Security Council in New York, Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib rebuffed criticism by Russia and China that NATO strikes had resulted in civilian deaths and alluded that the killings in Syria also required the UN’s attention.

“Permit me to say that this matter which concerns the blood of Libyans should not be a matter of political propaganda,” he told council members. “I hope the reason for raising this is not to impede or prevent the international community” from intervening “in situation of others states where their peoples are being massacred and killed at hands of their rules.”

A year ago, the UN Security Council approved a no-fly zone over Libya and authorized “all necessary measures” to protect civilians, a move that helped the opposition topple dictator Muammar Qaddafi and was criticized by Russia for expediting regime change.

Since protests began in Syria last March, Russia and China have twice vetoed attempts by the decision-making body to end the bloodshed in a conflict that the UN estimates has claimed more than 7,500 lives. A third draft resolution was presented by the U.S., and discussions have begun this week.

-- Editors: Terry Atlas, Larry Liebert

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