The United Nations has given strong backing to Libya's former rebels, handing their National Transitional Council (NTC) the country's UN seat and then lifting and modifying some sanctions imposed on Muammar Gaddafi's regime.

The 15-member Security Council on Friday also unanimously passed a resolution to ease an assets freeze and arms embargo against Libyan companies and the government. 

The General Assembly's vote of 114 countries to 17, with 15 abstentions to accept the credentials of the National Transitional Council, gave its representative the right to speak at the United Nations.

The Security Council did, however, expressed concern at the "proliferation of arms in Libya and its potential impact on regional peace and security."

The measure eases sanctions against major enterprises such as Libyan National Oil Corporation, the central bank and the Libyan Investment Authority sovereign wealth fund in a bid to get the economy moving again.

The resolution also allows arms supplies and technical assistance to the transitional government soley for the security of the authorities and for the protection of UN personnel, media and aid workers in the country.

Political headway

The Security Council previously passed resolutions in February and March allowing for sanctions and measures to protect civilians, which NATO has used to justify its military strikes in Libya over the past six months.

Security Council Resolution 2009 also set up a UN mission to go to Libya to help the interim government to arrange elections and write a new constitution. 

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While agreeing to keep the no-fly zone in place, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin demanded that it be quickly reviewed; renewing accusations that NATO has acted outside the UN resolutions.

The UN Support Mission in Libya, UNSMIL, would be set up for an initial three months to help in what diplomats insist is essentially a political operation.

It would give advice on restoring security but would concentrate on efforts to "undertake inclusive political dialogue, promote national reconciliation and embark upon the constitution-making and electoral process."

About 90 countries now recognise the NTC, whose leaders moved to Tripoli this week.

Libya has had no official UN representative since March, when Gaddafi withdrew the credentials of the ambassador, Abdurrahman Mohamed Shalgham, who went over to the rebels.

The ballot allows interim government leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil to attend next week's UN gathering of world leaders in New York. Jalil is to meet US President Barack Obama and other key figures on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Ibrahim Dabbashi, who was deputy ambassador under Gaddafi but went over to the rebels after the strongman's crackdown on protests and is now representing the interim government, told the Security Council it had been a"historic" day for Libya.

Source: Al Jazeera