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Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Arab League demands immediate de-escalation in Libya

Ahram Online , Monday 22 Jun 2020
Arab League headquarters
The Arab League headquarters in Cairo (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 2123

The Arab League held on Monday an online meeting by the International Follow Up Committee on Libya (IFCL) to discuss the Libyan crisis.

The meeting was co-chaired by the Arab League, represented by Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki, and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), represented by Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General Stephanie Williams.

The meeting was the IFCL's third since its establishment after the Berlin Conference in February. The committee was formed to tackle the implementation of commitments and goals stipulated in the conference’s resolutions.

Participants reviewed the progress attained in the implementation of the conclusions of the Berlin Conference held in January, and the efforts of the IFCL in support of a comprehensive, durable and peaceful Libyan-led resolution of the conflict, under UN auspices, that preserves the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national unity of Libya.

They also welcomed the progress achieved by the four thematic technical working groups of the IFCL, addressing security, political, economic and international humanitarian law and human rights issues, in following-up and operating the conclusions of the Berlin Conference. 

Members of the IFCL expressed their profound alarm at the serious, ongoing military escalation around Sirte, and renewed their call for an immediate de-escalation to resume negotiations between the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) within the intra-Libyan 5+5 Joint Military Commission (JMC) with a view of reaching a formal, comprehensive, and permanent cease-fire agreement under UN auspices.

According to a League statement, the participants slammed the continued multiple violations of the UN arms embargo and reiterated the need for all external actors to strictly adhere to their commitments to cease all forms of foreign military intervention in Libya and desist from any destabilising activities in the conflict.

They deplored all reports of widespread human rights violations, including the discovery of mass graves in and around Tarhouna.

Participants also exchanged views on the various initiatives aimed at resuming an inclusive political process and completing Libya’s transition, including the initiative announced by Aguila Saleh, the Speaker of Libyan House of Representatives, the Cairo Declaration, Prime Minister Fayez Al-Serraj’s proposal and emerging calls to prepare for national elections.

The Arab League said it will hold an emergency meeting on Tuesday upon Egypt’s request to address the recently heightened tensions in Libya.

The scheduled meetings come a few days after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that Cairo has a legitimate right to intervene in the war-torn neighbouring country to restore security and stability after receiving "direct threats" from "terrorist militias," stressing that Egypt has long been reluctant to make such a move.

El-Sisi said that any intervention in Libya by Egyptian forces “would be led by the Libyan tribes,” adding that the Libyan frontline of Sirte and Al-Jufra is “a red line” for Egyptian national security.

Earlier this month, President El-Sisi, Commander of the LNA Khalifa Haftar, and Saleh announced a peace initiative, dubbed the Cairo Declaration, to end the civil war in Libya through a ceasefire and an elected leadership council.

The oil-rich country is divided between two rival administrations in the east and west.

Egypt, the UAE and Russia are backing Haftar in the east, while Turkey supports the Tripoli-based GNA. 


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