Libya: Truce led to notable reduction in violence, violations reported
The UN call for a humanitarian truce over this week’s Eid al-Adha religious holiday led to a “palpable reduction” of violence around the embattled capital of Tripoli, the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement released Wednesday Aug.14.
Following the UN’s plea last Thursday, both the forces loyal to the UN-recognized Government and the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) of commander Khalifa Haftar, announced that they would respect a truce.
Yet, despite the notable reduction in violence during the period of the truce, violations were reported and on Tuesday, LNA and GNA forces resumed fighting around the city of Tripoli.
On Saturday morning, a deadly car bomb attack outside a shopping mall in the LNA-controlled eastern city of Benghazi, left three UN staff dead, and three others injured. Dozens of civilians were also injured.
“Despite the notable reduction in violence during the period of the truce, violations were reported to the mission”, added UNSMIL. The truce was not respected in the town of Murzuq, in southwestern Libya, where communal violence continued, killing seven and wounding more than 50 others.
Regardless of the violations, UNSMIL chief, Ghassan Salamé, who is also UN Special Representative in Libya (SRSG), said UNSMIL was ready “to immediately use its good offices, to transform what was accomplished in the period of truce, into a permanent ceasefire.”
The mission “welcomes the international community’s declarations of support for the truce and renews the SRSG’s proposal to convene a meeting of concerned countries”, the statement continued, noting that nations “should work towards providing guarantees for a permanent ceasefire, a call for upholding the arms embargo, and a commitment to return in good faith to a UN-sponsored comprehensive political process to end the Libyan conflict.”
The United Nations has repeatedly emphasized that lasting peace and stability in Libya, including an end to the worsening humanitarian crisis, will come only through a political solution and the parties should engage in dialogue without delay.