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Libya unity govt says it wants warplanes to fight Islamic State militants

Libya's unity government called on Tuesday for warplanes and helicopters to fight jihadists as it hailed international support for granting it an exemption to a longstanding embargo on weapons sales.



Tripoli: Libya's unity government called on Tuesday for warplanes and helicopters to fight jihadists as it hailed international support for granting it an exemption to a longstanding embargo on weapons sales.

On Monday, the United States, Italy and Libya's allies and neighbours agreed in Vienna to arm the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to confront the threat from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

The agreement comes as rival Libyan forces prepare separate offensives against IS, which has taken advantage of the chaos since the 2011 revolution to establish a new stronghold across the Mediterranean from Europe.

International backing for an exemption to the embargo, in place since 2011, is "fundamental to the creation of a strong army... Capable of fighting the jihadist Islamic State group and other extremist groups", GNA deputy head Mussa al-Kony told.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said a 25-member group agreed to exempt the GNA from the UN arms embargo imposed since the uprising against Moamer Kadhafi's regime five years ago.

"State institutions have collapsed because the army itself fell apart. Our priority today is to unify this institution and revive it, but without weapons we cannot do this," Kony said.

"What we want is to acquire all sorts of weaponry... But our priority is aircraft," he said.

"We want pilots, helicopters and warplanes."

On Monday in Vienna, GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj requested both equipment and training which the international ministers present were ready to support. 

From Zee News

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