UN Urges Libya to Secure Weapons

Posted November 1st, 2011 at 5:40 am (UTC-5)
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The U.N. Security Council has urged Libya to prevent the spread of arms throughout the region, as the country's provisional authority elected a new interim prime minister to lead the political transition.

The 15-member Council unanimously adopted a Russian-backed resolution Monday that highlighted the threat of shoulder-fired missiles and other arms ending up in the hands of militants in the region. The Council said the proliferation of weapons could fuel unrest and be used by groups such as al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

Meanwhile, Libya's National Transitional Council elected Abdel-Rahim el-Keeb as the country's new interim prime minister.

El-Keeb won Monday with 26 of the 51 NTC members' votes. He is a U.S.-educated electrical engineer, who will form a new government to pave the way for national elections.

The vote came shortly before NATO ended its Libya mission, concluding an air campaign to protect civilians under a U.N. Security Council resolution.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen hailed the seven-month bombing campaign during a visit to Tripoli Monday. He said he is “proud of the part NATO played” in helping Libyan transitional forces drive Moammar Gadhafi from power.

Rasmussen said the alliance acted to protect the Libyan people and “together we succeeded.” He called Libya “finally free,” praising its people for having transformed the country and helping to change the region.

The NATO chief was in the Libyan capital for talks with the National Transitional Council, including chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil.

NATO formally decided to halt the mission after the U.N. canceled the mandate last week, though Libya's transitional leaders had urged NATO to continue because of security concerns.

Provisional leaders declared the country liberated from the 42-year rule of the late Moammar Gadhafi during a ceremony on October 23. Officials have said they plan to form a new interim government within a month, followed by elections for a constitutional assembly within eight months. Parliamentary and presidential elections would be held within a year after that.