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Monday, 08 March 2021

UN to meet Monday on Libya at Russia's request

AFP , Monday 6 Jan 2020
File Photo: The United Nations Security Council meets on Syria at the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., on March 12, 2018. (Photo: Reuters)
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The UN Security Council will meet behind closed doors on Monday about the situation in Libya, as Turkish troops begun deploying to the country in a bid to shore up the UN-recognized government in Tripoli, diplomats said Sunday.

The meeting, held at Russia's request, is formally focused on an international conference on Libya that Germany hopes to organize by month's end. So far, no date for the meeting has been announced.

But Monday's talks will be the first chance for Security Council members to discuss controversial security and maritime deals struck by Libya and Turkey in November -- and Ankara's subsequent decision to send troops to Libya.

Turkey's move comes after the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord -- under sustained attack since military strongman general Khalifa Haftar launched his offensive in April -- made a formal request for military support.

The maritime agreement reached by Tripoli and Ankara gives Turkey rights to large swathes of the Mediterranean where gas reserves have recently been discovered.

That has angered other Mediterranean countries including Greece and Cyprus, who also seek to exploit energy resources in the region.

At least 30 people were killed and 33 others wounded in an air strike on a military school in Tripoli on Saturday, according to the government.

UN diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told AFP they could not rule out the possibility that a council member could raise the issue of Russian mercenaries working to bolster Haftar.

Moscow has denied all responsibility on that front.

On Friday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres renewed his call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya.

"Any foreign support to the warring parties will only deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution," he said in a statement.

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