U.S., U.K., France, others welcome Libya truce

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France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States have welcomed the truce agreed by Libya’s main warring parties during the three-day Eid al-Adha festival.

In a joint statement circulated by the U.S. Department of State on Monday, the governments of the five countries called for cessation of hostilities across Libya.

The truce was brokered by the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) with the support of the Security Council on Saturday.

It involves the UN-backed Government of National Accord and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Gen. Khalifa Haftar, who also leads a parallel administration based in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Fighting has been raging since Haftar’s LNA launched an offensive to take control of Tripoli from the UN-supported unity government on April 3.

No fewer than 1,100 people, including 110 civilians, have died and thousands of others injured and displaced since then.

The five countries said they were ready to “assist the UN Mission in monitoring the observance of the truce and address any attempt to break it’’.

They stressed the need for the truce to be accompanied by confidence-building measures between the parties as proposed by the SRSG and reaffirmed by the Security Council.

This, they said, is necessary to “pave the way for a sustainable cease-fire and a return to a constructive, inclusive dialogue’’.

“The governments of France, Italy, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States recall the obligation under international law for all UN Member States to abide by the arms embargo, in line with all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

“We call on all parties to start working with no delay on a ceasefire agreement and resume efforts, under the auspices of the Special Representative of the United Nations, to build a lasting political solution, based on the principles agreed upon in Paris, Palermo, and Abu Dhabi.

“We reaffirm our strong commitment to a quick and peaceful resolution of the Libyan crisis,’’ they said.

While noting that there can be no military option in Libya, they urged all parties to “protect civilians, safeguard Libya’s oil resources and protect its infrastructure’’.

The five countries strongly condemned a car bomb attack in Benghazi just before the truce on Saturday in which three UN staff died.

“The circumstances of this vicious act must be established with no delay and those who were behind it must be identified and held accountable.

“We reiterate our full support to the essential work of the UN Mission in Libya,’’ they said. (NAN)

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