UN Security Council adopts resolution calling for 'lasting ceasefire' in Libya

Haftar’s forces blocks UN flights

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The UN Security Council on Wednesday adopted a resolution calling for a "lasting ceasefire" in war-torn Libya, where a fragile truce has been in place since January.

The text, drafted by Britain, was approved by 14 votes out of 15, with Russia abstaining.

It was subject to weeks of wrangling, reflecting deep international divisions over Libya despite world leaders recently agreeing to end all foreign interference in the country and to uphold a weapons embargo.

The resolution affirmed "the need for a lasting ceasefire in Libya at the earliest opportunity, without pre-conditions."

It also expressed "concern over the growing involvement of mercenaries in Libya."

Russia had pushed to replace the word "mercenaries" with "foreign terrorist fighters."

Libya, Africa's most oil-rich nation, has been mired in chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Since April 2019, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has fought back against an offensive by military commander Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

A ceasefire was agreed on January 12, but there are still near-daily clashes near Tripoli and arms continue to flow into the country.

Haftar’s forces blocks UN flights

Also on Wednesday, the UN said its flights have not been granted permission to land in Libya by the self-styled Libya National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN mission in Libya was concerned that its regular flights into Tripoli, which transport UN staff to and from the war-torn country, have been prevented from landing on several occasions in the past weeks.

Dujarric said preventing UN flights from traveling to Libya “will severely hinder our humanitarian and good offices efforts" at a time when the United Nations is trying to get the warring parties to negotiate a peace agreement and “provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable conflict-affected civilians”.

A spokesman for Haftar’s forces confirmed the blockage, telling reporters in the eastern city of Benghazi that the UN would have to use other airports such as Misrata because it could not guarantee the safety of flights into Tripoli Mitiga airport as Turkey was using it as a base.

Turkey supports the UN-recognised government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj while Haftar is supported by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, France and Russia.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

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