Russia ready to consider easing arms embargo for Libya


Russia is ready to consider easing an arms embargo for Libya, the Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying on Wednesday.

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj said this month he was hopeful that a UN-imposed arms embargo would be partially lifted against some branches of the country’s military.

Sanctions imposed in respect of Libya in 2011 have been partially withdrawn in the light of the overthrow of the Quadafi regime. Some sanctions remain in force and in March 2014 the UN Security Council adopted a new Resolution in response to illicit oil shipments (see below), banning illicit crude oil exports from Libya and authorizing inspection of suspect ships on high seas. Measures have also been introduced in relation to human trafficking.

The regulatory focus has turned away from the former Quadafi regime and is now firmly on the export of “illicit” crude oil which provides support for armed groups or criminal networks and the supply of fuel and weapons to the same groups.


UN Sanctions have been subject to frequent changes and only limited sanctions remain in place against individuals and entities. The latest UN List of individuals and entities was updated on 29 July 2013. On 19 March 2014 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2146/2014 banning illicit crude oil exports from Libya and authorizing inspection of suspect ships on high seas. Two ships have also been designated by the UN – Capricorn IMO 8900878 (currently to 18 January 2018) and Lynn S IMO 8706349 (currently to 2 November 2017).

The first measures against Libya were introduced on 26 February 2011, when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1970/2011. The Resolution provided for the freezing funds and resources controlled directly or indirectly to six named members of the Quadafi family and to individuals or entities acting on their behalf or at their direction, or under their control.

The Sanctions Committee of the Security Council has the power to designate further individuals who may be subjected to asset freezing and travel prohibition.

On 17 March 2011, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1973/2011which widened the scope of Resolution UNSCR 1970 (2011) and designated additional persons and entities who were subject to restrictions.

On 16 September 2011 the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2009 (2011) in support of the Libyan authorities’ process to establish an independent Libya. The UN resolution partly lifted the arms embargo imposed on Libya, but upheld the no-fly zone, under continous review. The resolution lifted sanctions against the Libyan Oil Corporation, Zuietina Oil Company and a number of financial institutions. Measures were maintained against the Quadafi family.

On 16 December 2011, the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee decided to remove the names of the Central Bank of Libya and the Libyan Arab Foreign Bank, also known as the Libyan Foreign Bank.


The first step against the Qadhafi regime was taken on 3 March 2011, with arms embargo and asset freezes. It has been amended many times since then and to consolidate all sanctions measures into a single regulation EU issued are Council Regulation (EU) 2016/44 repealing Council Regulation (EU) 204/2011 and Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1333 repealing Council Decision 2011/137/CFSP. In July 2017, Regulation 2016/44 was amended by adding items which can be used for human trafficking (see Regulation 1325/2017).

Sanctions remain in force against 38 individuals and 18 entities. These can be identified in the UK Treasury Consolidated List of Targets. In July/August 2017 the UE also adopted the UN designation of two ships – Capricorn IMO 8900878 (currently to 18 January 2018) and Lynn S IMO 8706349 (currently to 2 November 2017).


On 11 March 2011, Norway adopted a Regulation (Norwegian only) based on UN Resolution 1970/2011 – see Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press release.

With the UN decision of 16 December 2011 withdrawing sanctions against the Central Bank of Libya, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have amended the Norwegian regulation to reflect the decision accordingly. See press release of 21 December 2011 (Norwegian only).


US Sanctions followed a similar pattern to the EU, with rapid additions to the list of designated persons and entities, with equally rapid deletions following the fall of Quadafi..

On 25 February 2011, Executive Order 13566 was issued by the President of the United States freezing assets of members of the Qadhafi family and associates, as well as “the Government of Libya, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities, and the Central Bank of Libya. During the spring 2011 further additions were made to the SDN list. One important addition was General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC) which was designated on 21 June 2011 but removed on 18 November 2011.

Sanctions were gradually removed from September 2011 onwards. Please see the US SDN List maintained by the US Treasury Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) for designated individuals and entities.

On 19 April 2016 President Obama has signed an Executive Orderexpanding the designation criteria under US sanctions on Libya. The new order designates those involved in activities that undermine Libya’s political transition to the Government of National Accord or its successors, threaten the peace or security of the country, misappropriate state assets, etc..

The US Treasury Resource Senter on Libya can be found here.

How individual members will be affected will depend on a wide variety of factors and it is not possible for this website to provide comprehensive or conclusive advice. The intention is to provide some general comments, convenient access to relevant materials and news of latest developments. Members should not act in reliance solely on the information provided here. They must make their own enquiries and take legal advice which can take account of their circumstances.

Members are reminded of that sanctions may prejudice cover (see Rules 3.3.2 (e), 30.4.7 & 32.6 and equivalent provisions in Terms & Conditions for non-mutual covers) and affect the assistance which the Association is able to provide to the members.



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