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UN Security Council urged to rush into "fragile window of opportunity" in Libya



           


Stephanie Williams calls on the members of the UN Security Council to act quickly (photo U.S. Embassy in Libya)
Stephanie Williams calls on the members of the UN Security Council to act quickly (photo U.S. Embassy in Libya)
LIBYA. Speaking before the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, September 3, 2020 by videoconference, Stephanie Williams asked its members to take advantage of the "fragile window of opportunity" in the Libyan conflict. The Special Representative and Acting Head of the United Nations Mission of Support in Libya (UNMIL) believes that "the time has come to unite as efforts are being made to reach a settlement that would preserve the sovereignty and integrity of the country (...) It is imperative that you use your influence to make all parties understand that the time has come to show restraint".

This statement comes at a time when a ceasefire was declared on the ground, at the end of August 2020, between the forces of the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez el-Sarraj and those of the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar. Stephanie Williams regrets that the two belligerents "continue to benefit from the regrettable support of foreign sponsors to stockpile arms and advanced equipment". Turkey officially supports the GNA and the ANL is supported by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt.

"An unsustainable status quo."

On July 8, 2020, in the last situation report on this conflict, the UN Secretary General noted that "some seventy tanker aircraft landed at airports in the east of the country in support of ANL forces, while another thirty aircraft landed in the west in support of the GNA. Similarly, about nine ships landed in the western ports, while three others joined the country in support of ANL forces. In addition, foreign support from both sides are strengthening their assets in Libya's main air bases". La Manul records a large-scale presence of mercenaries and foreign agents.

Noting an "alarming violation of Libya's sovereignty, a flagrant violation of the UN arms embargo, not to mention the commitments of the Berlin Conference," Stephanie Williams implored the Security Council. "Your help, not only in words but above all in actions, will help determine whether the country is descending into new depths of fragmentation and chaos or moving towards a more prosperous future". According to her, "the status quo is simply unsustainable."

The partial lifting of the oil blockade announced on August 18, 2020 by the ANL has had only a minimal impact on the energy crisis, the UN representative said. The population is deprived of electricity up to 20 hours a day. This - just like the Covid-19 pandemic with 15,156 confirmed cases and 250 deaths on September 1, 2020 - worsens the socio-economic conditions. In turn, this situation leads to riots that are not conducive to progress in the political discussions necessary to bring the country out of the uncertainty in which it finds itself. "We must make the complete lifting of the oil blockade, in place since January, a top priority," she insists.


Frédéric Dubessy


Thursday, September 3rd 2020



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