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Time Is Running Out For Libya — UN Sec. General




With battle lines shifting, foreign interference growing, thousands fleeing their homes and COVID-19 cases on the rise, time is running out for bringing a peaceful end to the conflict in Libya, Secretary-General António Guterres says.

Briefing the Security Council on Wednesday, the UN chief described the context in Libya as “gloomy” – and urged the international community to seize every opportunity to unblock the political stalemate.

“Time is not on our side in Libya”, he told a video-teleconference meeting of the Council that featured statements by several foreign ministers.

“The conflict has entered a new phase, with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels, including in the delivery of sophisticated equipment and the number of mercenaries involved in the fighting.”

Since the Council last discussed Libya in May, he said, military units of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) – “with significant external support” – have pressed eastward in their offensive against the oppositional so-called Libyan National Army, commanded by Khalifa Haftar.

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The situation on the frontlines has mostly been quiet since 10 June, with GNA forces 25 kilometres from the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte, he said.

But the United Nations is very concerned by an alarming military build-up around that city, as well as “a high level of direct foreign interference” in violation of a UN arms embargo, Security Council resolutions and commitments made at the Berlin International Conference on Libya six months ago, he said.

Meanwhile, almost 30,000 people have been forced to flee their homes due to continuing fighting in Tripoli’s southern suburbs, laid siege to by the LNA more than a year ago, and Tarhouna, bring the total of internally displaced persons in Libya to more than 400,000, he said.

Between 1 April and 30 June, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) document at least 356 casualties, including 102 civilian deaths and 254 civilian injuries – a 172 per cent increase compared to the January-to-March period.


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