Published On: Wed, Apr 10th, 2019

UN chief appeals for ceasefire to avoid ‘bloody battle for Tripoli’

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‘It’s still time to stop,’ UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres tells reporters after briefing the UN Security Council in a closed session

Published 7:14 AM, April 11, 2019

Updated 7:14 AM, April 11, 2019

FIGHTING. A Libyan fighter loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) fires a machine gun during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli's suburb of Ain Zara, on April 10, 2019. Photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP

FIGHTING. A Libyan fighter loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) fires a machine gun during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli’s suburb of Ain Zara, on April 10, 2019. Photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP

UNITED NATIONS, USA – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called Wednesday, April 10, for a ceasefire in Libya to prevent all-out fighting for control of Tripoli as the Security Council weighed steps to address the crisis.

“It’s still time to stop,” Guterres told reporters after briefing the UN Security Council in a closed session.

“It’s still time for a ceasefire to take place, for a cessation of hostilities to take place, and to avoid the worst, which would be a dramatic. bloody battle for Tripoli.”

Guterres was in Libya when forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar last week launched an offensive to seize the capital, which is controlled by a UN-backed government and an array of militias.

Haftar backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that is refusing to recognize the authority of the Tripoli government.

Guterres said Libya was facing a “very dangerous situation” and urged a halt to the fighting to allow political negotiations to start anew.

“It is very clear for me that we need to restart a serious political dialogue and a serious political negotiation but it is obvious that cannot take place without a full stop to the hostilities,” he said.

The council met for over two hours behind closed doors to consider how to address the fresh fighting near Tripoli that has derailed UN peace efforts.

UN diplomats said the council was considering a statement or draft resolution demanding the ceasefire.

The United Nations postponed a national conference that was to open on Sunday, April 14, to draw up a roadmap to elections, meant to turn the page on years of chaos since the 2011 ouster of Moamer Kadhafi.

Heavy clashes were reported Wednesday on the southeastern outskirts of Tripoli and Haftar’s forces said they had seized barracks south of Tripoli. – Rappler.com

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