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Libya Seeks World's Help to Fight Terrorism

  • VOA News

FILE - Rebels under Libyan rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran guard the entrance of the al-Ghani oil field.

FILE - Rebels under Libyan rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran guard the entrance of the al-Ghani oil field.

Libya is calling on the international community to help it fight what it says is a war on terrorism.

In a statement released late Wednesday, the country's interim government said it especially wants United Nations assistance in uprooting terrorism from Libyan cities.

It said terror groups are operating in Benghazi, Sirte and other places.

Benghazi was the site of a car bombing on Monday that killed at least seven people.

The government has been struggling with security since the 2011 overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi. Different militia groups that helped oust the longtime leader continue to operate over wide areas of Libya, including in eastern Libya, where they have seized control of major ports.

Interim leaders have ordered Libyan special forces to recapture the ports in the coming weeks.

On Monday, U.S. Navy SEALs took control of an oil tanker that had loaded crude oil from the rebel-held port of As-Sidra before evading Libyan forces to sail into international waters near Cyprus.

Libya has said rebels cannot legally sell the country's oil, but the loss of control of the eastern ports has crippled the government's ability to sell oil and seen exports fall 80 percent.

The United Nations responded to the situation Wednesday with a Security Council resolution banning illicit sales of crude oil from Libya.

The measure also authorizes member states to inspect vessels suspected of carrying stolen oil and to take appropriate actions to return the crude to Libya.

Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's ambassador to the U.N., thanked the Security Council for taking action and showing it is ready to come to Libya's aid.

"I want to speak to you today to express the thanks the government of Libya and people of Libya to the members of the Security Council for having responded quickly to the request made to the Security Council in order to take a position in regard to the attempts to circumvent Libyan oil and attacks on Libyan sovereignty and sovereignty of our own resources. The position of the Security Council today, the adoption of this resolution reaffirms the commitment of the Security Council to respect the rules of international law. Moreover this gives a clear signal to the Libyan government -- the Security Council is therefore prepared to come to Libya's aid when Libya needs this assistance," said Dabbashi.

There is currently a U.N. support mission in Libya, which the Security Council voted last week to extend through March 2015. The mission is tasked with supporting Libya's government through its political transition with elections and a new constitution, as well as protecting human rights and controlling the proliferation of arms in the country.

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