SUN 5 - 2 - 2023
Apr 17, 2019
The Daily Star
UN weighs Libya cease-fire resolution
UNITED NATIONS: Britain has presented a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council demanding an immediate cease-fire in Libya after forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli, according to the text.
The proposed measure said the offensive by Haftar’s Libyan National Army “threatens the stability of Libya and prospects for a United Nations-facilitated political dialogue and a comprehensive political solution to the crisis.”
The council “demands that all parties in Libya immediately de-escalate the situation, commit to a cease-fire, and engage with the United Nations to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities throughout Libya,” the draft obtained Tuesday says.
Dozens of people have been killed since fighting broke out on April 4.
U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said heavy weapons and shelling have damaged houses, schools and civilian infrastructure.
He said the number of people displaced due to hostilities in the Tripoli area had increased to nearly 20,000, including more than 2,500 in the previous 24 hours.
Britain hopes to bring the measure to a vote at the council before Friday, but diplomats said it remained unclear whether negotiations on the measure would wrap up that quickly.
The proposed measure echoed a call for a cease-fire by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was in Libya to personally advance prospects for a political solution when the offensive was launched.
Haftar, seen by his allies Egypt and the UAE as a bulwark against Islamists, has declared he wants to seize the capital, now controlled by a U.N.-recognized government and an array of militias.
Haftar backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that is refusing to recognize the authority of the Tripoli government.
The draft resolution calls on all sides in Libya “immediately to recommit” to U.N. peace efforts and urges all member-states “to use their influence over the parties” to see that the resolution is respected.
Nearly two weeks into its assault, Haftar’s forces are still stuck on the city’s southern outskirts.
Haftar’s media office said Tuesday that clashes had been ongoing for days in the town of Ain Zara, about 15 kilometers east of Tripoli.
It said clashes were taking place on the road that links the city to Tripoli International Airport.
Diplomats have long complained that foreign powers backing rival sides in Libya threatened to turn the conflict into a proxy war.
Saudi Arabia is also seen as a key Haftar supporter while Qatar, which has tense ties with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, has called for stronger enforcement of the U.N. arms embargo to keep weapons out of Haftar’s hands.
Russia last week blocked a draft council statement that would have called on Haftar’s forces to halt their advance on Tripoli. Russia and France, two permanent council members, have praised Haftar’s battlefield successes in defeating Libyan armed groups aligned with Daesh (ISIS) in the south of the country.
Haftar’s offensive forced the U.N. to postpone a national conference that was to draw up a road map to elections, meant to turn the page on years of chaos since the 2011 ouster of Moammar Gadhafi.
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