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July 18, 2019
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UN Security Council calls for ceasefire in Libya

NEW YORK: The United Nations Security Council has called upon Libya’s warring parties to commit to a ceasefire.

The call came after a deadly air raid on a detention centre for migrants and refugees near the capital, Tripoli that killed more than 44 people.

“The members of the Security Council stressed the need for all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation and to commit to a ceasefire,” the 15-member body said in a joint statement.

“Lasting peace and stability in Libya will come only through a political solution.”

The UNSC also urged the parties to rapidly return to UN-mediated political talks, and urged other countries not to intervene or exacerbate conflict in Libya, which has been wracked by chaos since the NATO-backed overthrow of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The council press statement was the first approved by all 15 members since the leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive in early April to wrestle the capital from forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The statement was spurred by Tuesday night’s raid on the detention centre in Tajoura, which the council said killed 53 people and wounded more than 130 others. The International Organization for Migration said on Friday that six children were among those killed.

The UN body met on Wednesday, but was unable to issue a statement – which needs consensus – because the United States could not agree to it, diplomats said.

However, the statement issued on Friday was largely unchanged from the language discussed on Wednesday, diplomats said.

The council has struggled to unify on how to deal with the renewed violence in Libya. Shortly after Haftar began his offensive, the US and Russia both told council colleagues that they could not support a resolution that would have called for a ceasefire in Libya.