Britain, France, U.S. Ask U.N. to Blacklist Libya's Ansar al-Sharia

Britain, France, U.S. Ask U.N. to Blacklist Libya's Ansar al-Sharia

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Britain, the United States and France have proposed that Islamist extremist group Ansar al-Sharia in Libya be blacklisted under the United Nations al Qaeda sanctions regime, diplomats said on Tuesday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

If all 15 members of the U.N. Security Council’s al Qaeda sanctions committee agree, the group will be added to the list on Nov. 19 and subjected to an arms embargo and a global travel ban and asset freeze, the diplomats said.

Australian U.N. Ambassador Gary Quinlan, president of the Security Council this month, told reporters that council members would be looking in general at the possibility of broadening U.N. sanctions to target those undermining stability in Libya.

“One of the issues … is sanctions,” Quinlan said after a council discussion on Libya and other issues. He added that the idea was to possibly extend the scope of already existing measures “to take into account people who might want to spoil the political transition.”

Ansar al-Sharia is blamed by Washington for a 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in the city of Benghazi that killed the American ambassador.

Western powers worry that Libya is heading toward civil war as authorities are too weak to control former rebels who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but now defy state authority to grab power and a share of oil revenues.

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