The United Nations envoy for Li
ya has called for a truce to be declared in Libya on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha around August 10, along with such confidence-building measures as a prisoner exchange and freedom for those jailed without charges. ‘Following the truce, I request a high-level meeting of concerned countries to cement the cessation of hostilities … and promote strict adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law by Libyan parties,’ Ghassan Salame, who is also the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, told the Security Council Monday.
‘The war around Tripoli has already left nearly 1,100 dead, including 106 civilians,’ he said. ‘Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in the capital and neighbouring districts as a result of the fighting; tens of thousands crossing the border to Tunisia seeking safety for their families.’
The conflict exploded on April 4 when the head of the eastern-based militia known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), General Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive against the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli.
Much of Europe and Turkey back Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s government, while the United States, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have all expressed support for Gen. Haftar, who has set up a rival government in eastern Libya. The UN envoy accused both parties of serious human rights violations and also says a number of foreign players are sending in weapons and using the country for their own battleground.
‘More than ever, Libyans are now fighting the wars of other countries who appear content to fight to the last Libyan and to see the country entirely destroyed in order to settle their own scores.’ Salame said armed drones and armored vehicles, machine guns, and rocket launchers have poured into Libya, violating an international arms embargo.
Fighting between forces from both sides have been concentrated in the Tripoli suburbs for several months. Neither side has made much progress but have succeeded in terrorizing civilians and refugees seeking safety. U.N. efforts to get both sides to commit to a lasting cease-fire and seek a political settlement have so far failed.—APP