In Libya, Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ by risk of fresh military confrontation, urges restraint

UN Photo/Mohamed Alalem Secretary-General António Guterres greets national and international staff upon his arrival at UNSMIL Headquarters, the UN Support Mission in Libya. April 2019.

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The UN chief has expressed his deep concern by the reported advance of forces based in the east, towards the Libyan capital, Tripoli, declaring that “there is no military solution” to restoring peace and stability to the country.

Secretary-General António Guterres is on a visit to Libya, in support of the internationally-recognized Government’s efforts to bring rival leaders across the country together, for a national reconciliation conference, ahead of democratic elections later in the year.

The UN chief tweeted that he was “deeply concerned by the military movement taking place in Libya and the risk of confrontation” adding that: “There is no military solution. Only intra-Libyan dialogue can solve Libyan problems.”

According to news reports, Commander Khalifa Haftar, who leads a rival administration through the Libyan National Army in eastern Libya, which in recent weeks has been advancing to take control of territory in the south, has instructed his forces to move west, in pursuit of what he has reportedly described as terrorist elements.

Last month, Mr. Guterres expressed hope that a solution to Libya’s instability, civil conflict, and economic turmoil since the fall of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, could be found, following an historic meeting between Prime Minister Faiez Serraj, and Commander Haftar, at the end of February. The two leaders agreed to national, democratic elections, and “ways to maintain stability in the country, and unify its institutions”, according to statement from the UN Mission UNSMIL.

Ahead of meeting leading Government figures in Tripoli, the UN called for “calm and restraint”.

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