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Iran Press TV

UN envoy urges end to foreign support for warring sides in Libya

Iran Press TV

Wednesday, 20 May 2020 6:46 AM

The United Nations (UN)'s acting envoy for Libya has called on the Security Council to press countries to end their sponsorship of warring sides in the North African country, warning that the influx of arms and mercenaries will aggravate the conflict.

"From what we are witnessing in terms of the massive influx of weaponry, equipment, and mercenaries to the two sides, the only conclusion that we can draw is that this war will intensify, broaden, and deepen," said Acting UN Envoy Stephanie Williams before the Security Council.

"We must not let Libya slip away," she insisted. "This council can ensure the collective security it is mandated to maintain by applying consistent and credible pressure on those regional and international actors that are fueling the conflict."

Libya descended into turmoil following the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi, its long-time ruler, in 2011. For the past six years, the country has been split between two rival camps, namely the UN-recognized government based in the capital, Tripoli, and another camp based in the eastern city of Tobruk, backed militarily by rebel forces led by strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The Libyan government receives major backing from Turkey, and the rebels from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Jordan.

The rebels launched a deadly offensive to capture Tripoli in April last year but have so far failed to advance past the city's outskirts.

The remarks by Williams came just a day after the UN's Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen also informed the UNSC that militants from Syria were being dispatched to Libya to fight on both sides of the conflict there.

UAE calls for truce, diplomacy to end Libya war

Meanwhile, the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash proclaimed that the Persian Gulf country believed the only viable path forward in the Libyan crisis would be "an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire and a return to the political process."

"The UAE's position on the Libyan crisis has been firm and clear & shared by the majority of the international community," Gargash claimed in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

The assertion was made despite the UAE's persistent interference in the Libyan conflict by way of supplying Haftar with weaponry despite a UN arms embargo on Libya and conducting drone operations in support of his forces.

Rebels declare retreat from Tripoli fronts

Separately, a rebel spokesman announced early on Wednesday that the rebels were withdrawing two to three kilometers from all front-lines around Tripoli from midday.

Ahmed al-Mismari claimed the retreat was meant to allow citizens to move more freely during the end of Ramadan and in the run-up to the Eid al-Fitr holiday.

Mismari also called on government forces to do the same but did not state whether the rebel's own pull-back was contingent on it doing so.

The development came after the government's biggest advance in the past year on Monday, when it captured the Watiya airbase, a significant rebel stronghold and the only major airbase near Tripoli, along with an abandoned Pantsir air defense system.

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