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UN Security Council calls for Libya ceasefire

July 5, 2019

The 15-member bloc has called on warring factions in Libya to cease fighting and enter talks. The body also strongly condemned Tuesday's airstrike on a migrant detention center near Tripoli.

A migrant at the bombed out Tajoura Detention Center outside Tripoli
Image: Reuters/I. Zitouny

The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously called for both sides of the violent power struggle in Libya to de-escalate violence and return to the negotiating table.

The 15-member body also strongly condemned an airstrike that hit a migrant detention center in Tajoura outside the capital Tripoli on Tuesday, killing at least 53 people, including women and children.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, and the UN has called for an independent investigation in order to bring those behind it to justice.

In a joint statement released after Friday's closed-door session, the Council "stressed the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation and commit to a ceasefire."

Read more: Libya's battle for Tripoli — what you need to know

Internationally backed government under siege

Tripoli has been the site of intense fighting since General Khalifa Haftar and his Libyan National Army (LNA), which controls much of eastern and southern Libya, began its offensive on the capital, which is controlled by the internationally backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

Since then, more than 1,000 people have been killed in and around Tripoli, and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 100,000 people have fled the area.

Friday's meeting had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday, but was delayed so that the US mission could confer with the US State Department over the wording of the joint statement.

US and Russia refuse to condemn strongman Haftar

Though there has been international condemnation of the Tuesday attack, which the UN's Libya envoy Ghassan Salame called a "war crime," the US and Russia have refused to condemn Haftar's offensive to take the capital.

The Security Council said it was "deeply concerned" about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Libya, as well as the safety of refugees and migrants being held in the country's detention centers.

The UN says there are currently around 5,700 refugees and migrants held at such centers, some 3,300 of whom are in the war zone around Tripoli.

Many migrants, most of whom are from sub-Saharan Africa, are desperately trying to get to Europe, but have become stranded in Libya, which is notorious for the squalid and abusive conditions of its detention centers.

js/amp (AFP, AP, dpa)

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