12 – 18 February: EU foreign ministers agree to establish military mission to enforce UN arms embargo

Feb 20, 2020 | International actors

On 11 February, the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted resolution 2509 (2020) by a vote of 14 in favour to none against with 1 abstention (Russia). The resolution extended the authorization of measures against the illicit export of crude oil and other petroleum products from Libya until 30 April 2021, continuing to allow Member States to inspect designated vessels on the high seas. On 12 February, the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) welcomed the UNSC resolution.

On 12 February, the UNSC endorsed resolution 2510 supporting the key points of the final communique of the Berlin Conference, with 14 members voting in favour and one abstention (Russia). The resolution calls for the commitment of all UN member states to the UN arms embargo, for the competing Libyan belligerents to maintain the Russia-Turkey brokered ceasefire in southern Tripoli, and for the ongoing 5+5 Joint Military Committee meetings between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA) to continue. The UNSC requested that the UN Secretary-General submit an interim report on the conditions for and proposals on ceasefire monitoring.

On 17 February, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell announced that 27 European Union (EU) foreign ministers had agreed to establish a military mission to enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, though the legal text for the mission has yet to be drafted. The mission will operate in the eastern Mediterranean and will not be a part of the EU’s existing Operation Sophia, which has a search and rescue function. The EU leaders were keen to stress that this new mission has a clear and different mandate and is not connected to migrant smuggling. Borrell stated that the EU was not in a position to monitor the Libya-Egyptian land border, where military capabilities are being transported to the LNA.