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U.S, Russia, Others Agree To Arm Libyan Government

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council have agreed to supply Libya's internationally recognized government with weapons to fight the Islamic State (IS) group and other armed factions in the divided country.

U.S. Secretary John Kerry and top officials from Russia, China, Britain, and France along with some 15 other countries said in Vienna on May 16 that they will approve exemptions to a UN arms embargo on Libya to supply weapons to the government of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the UN-backed "government of national accord."

Kerry called the plan to arm Sarraj's government "a delicate balance."

Sarraj said he would soon submit a list of weapons his government wanted to the UN Security Council for approval.

"We have a major challenge ahead of us," in fighting extremists, he said before the meeting. "We urge the international community to assist us."

Libya has been in disarray since mid-2014 when a group of militias seized the capital, Tripoli, and set up their own government, forcing the parliament to move to the eastern part of the country.

The lack of a central government has also allowed IS fighters and other Islamic extremist groups to take control of different parts of Libya.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP