Ethiopian Christians led off to be executed by ISIS in Libya (file)
Ethiopian Christians led off to be executed by ISIS in Libya (file) Screenshot

US officials said President Barack Obama's administration is ready to get a UN ban on arms exports to Libya lifted, to help the unity government fight Islamic State (ISIS) in the unstable North African state where the jihadists have gained ground.

"If the Libyan government prepares a detailed and coherent list of things that it wants to use to fight ISIL (ISIS), and responds to all the requirements of the exemption, I think that (UN Security) Council members are going to look very seriously at that request," a senior administration official told AFP Friday.

"There is a very healthy desire inside of Libya to rid themselves of ISIL, and I think that is something we should be supporting and responding to."

Back in March the UN Security Council passed a resolution to help the fight against ISIS in Libya, but did not lift the arms embargo.

Libya's UN-backed unity government prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj, with Egypt's backing, has asked for the embargo to be lifted to help his government arm itself.

The US has already taken some actions to stop ISIS's spread, and on Thursday it gave Tunisia communications technology, jeeps and small aircraft to help man the border with Libya.

Tunisian Defense Minister Farhar Horchani said his country also expects to receive attack aircraft, but he did not specify which country would provide them.

Regarding Libya, back in April French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault warned that the international community must be ready to take military action to support the local government.

Libya has been in chaos with rival factions fighting for control since the NATO-backed ouster of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011 as part of the "Arab Spring."

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