UN Security Council calls for ceasefire in Libya




UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres

UN Security Council has  urged warring factions in Libya to de-escalate tensions and agree to a ceasefire, and condemned an attack on a migrant detention center near the country’s capital.

This is the first statement passed by the Council since fighting erupted in April. It also calls for both sides to return to political talks mediated by the UN.

An emergency meeting of the Security Council was held to pass the press statement on Wednesday following the attack on a migrant detention center in the Tajoura suburb of the country’s capital, Tripoli, which killed at least 50 people and injured 130 others.

U.S. diplomats did not initially approve the statement, saying they would need word from Washington to be able to vote in favor of it, according to reports.

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) blamed the airstrike on commander Khalifa Haftar’s forces.

In early April, Haftar, who commands forces loyal to a rival government based in eastern Libya, launched a wide-ranging campaign to take the capital, but his forces have failed to achieve their primary objective, although they have captured several strategic towns and cities in the vicinity.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups.

The statement says the Council is “deeply concerned” at the current humanitarian situation in the country, and “called on all member states not to intervene in the conflict or take measures that exacerbate the conflict.”

The Council also further called for states to respect the arms embargo on Libya, which was called by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month.

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