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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Security Council calls on Libyan authorities to stem proliferation of arms

1 November 2011 – The Security Council has called on interim authorities in Libya to take action to prevent the proliferation of arms, missiles and related materiel, warning of the danger they pose to the newly liberated North African country and the wider region.

In a resolution adopted unanimously yesterday, Council members also authorized its committee on Libyan sanctions to draw up proposals for how to keep any stockpiles of arms and materiel away from terrorist groups, including the group known as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

The resolution, adopted hours before the mandate for authorized international military action in Libya came to an end, voiced concern about the proliferation of arms in the region, especially man-portable surface-to-air missiles – otherwise known as MANPADS.

The text said Libyan authorities must take “all necessary steps to prevent the proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types, in particular man-portable surface-to-air missiles, to ensure their proper custody, as well as to meet Libya’s arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation obligations under international law.”

Council members called on Libyan authorities to work closely with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) with the aim of destroying the country’s stockpiles of chemical weapons. In addition, States in the region were asked to play their part to prevent arms proliferation.

The committee set up after sanctions were imposed earlier this year was asked “to assess the threats and challenges, in particular related to terrorism, posed by the proliferation of all arms and related materiel of all types.”

A report will be prepared by the committee on preventing proliferation, as well as on how to ensure that any stockpiles are managed safely and securely, that border controls are strengthened and that transport security is boosted.

Last week Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) declared the full liberation of the country, more than eight months after a popular uprising began against the regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi, and days after his death in his home town of Sirte.

The uprising in Libya was part of the so-called Arab Spring, a wider pro-democracy movement across North Africa and the Middle East that has also led to the toppling of long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.

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