UN chief urges ceasefire in Libya to start political process

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a ceasefire in Lybia to be followed by “a real political process.”

Guterres, who briefed the UN Security Council behind closed doors on the Berlin Conference on Libya on Tuesday, said there is still a long way to go, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We have a truce. The truce is having some violations but not widespread violations. They are localized until now. We need to move to a ceasefire, and from the ceasefire, we need to move (to) a real political process and we are not yet there,” Guterres told reporters.

He said Tuesday’s Security Council meeting is important as it laid pressure on the parties to the conflict and those who influence the situation to make sure that this roadmap is followed.

“The pressure of the international community is essential. The role of the Security Council is essential,” said Guterres, who attended the Berlin conference on Sunday.

The Berlin conference is a major step as “it was, for the first time, possible to sit around the table, all those countries that have a direct or indirect influence concerning the conflict, and to commit them to non-interference,” the arms embargo and to supporting a ceasefire as well as the political process, he said.

Meanwhile, he cautioned that Berlin is just a beginning.

He expressed the belief that the endorsement of the conclusions of the Berlin conference by the UN Security Council and other follow-up steps could be extremely important.

Guterres said his message to leaders of the two warring parties in Lybia is “(to) accept fully the conclusions of the Berlin summit and assume that the leadership in a situation like this is leadership for peace … (and) for a united Libya able to be ruled by Libyans in peace and security and positively cooperating with its neighbors.”

Fayez al-Sarraj, prime minister of the UN-recognized Government of National Accord in Tripoli, and Khalifa Haftar, who had been leading the Libyan National Army in an offensive to seize the Libyan capital since April 2019, were both in Berlin on Sunday but did not attend the conference or meet each other.

United Nations, Jan 22 (IANS)

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