Libya: UN Security Council Pushes for Cease-Fire

As the fight for the Libyan capital enters its sixth week, the U.N. Security Council Friday urged the parties to stop shooting and rejoin U.N.-led political negotiations.

“The U.N. Security Council is deeply concerned about the instability in Tripoli and worsening humanitarian situation, which is endangering the lives of innocent civilians and threatens prospects for a political solution,” Council President Ambassador Dian Triansyah Djani of Indonesia told reporters after an emergency closed-door meeting.

He said the council wants the parties to “rapidly return to U.N. political mediation and to commit to a cease-fire and de-escalation to help mediation succeed.”

The U.N. political mission in Libya, known as UNSMIL, called for a one-week humanitarian truce starting last Monday, which was the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but the truce has failed to come into force.

Fighting in and around the capital began in early April, as forces under the command of General Khalifa Haftar, who holds sway in the country’s east, moved on Tripoli in the west. The capital is controlled by the U.N.-backed Presidential Council and Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj.

The U.N. said this week the fighting has killed 443 people and wounded more than 2,000. Some 60,000 people have been displaced from Tripoli since early April.

The U.N. Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Libya, Ghassan Salamé, has been conducting shuttle diplomacy to several capitals to try to find a way to stop the fighting and get political talks back on track. A U.N.-facilitated national conference that was planned for mid-April was scrapped after the fighting broke out.

Also Friday, the U.N. said it is extremely concerned about an attack in Ghadwa near the southern city of Sabha, which was claimed by the so-called Islamic State terror group. It was the second attack claimed by IS in a week.

“This is another reason why we need to have a cease-fire and to resume a political process that will re-unite the Libyans and enable them to join forces in the fight against terrorism,” a U.N. spokesperson said.

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