UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned world leaders of the disastrous humanitarian situation faced by thousands of civilians if a peaceful solution cannot be reached by the warring factions in Libya.
Speaking at the International Summit for Libya in Berlin on Sunday, January 19, the UN chief told delegates of the severity of human toll and international humanitarian law defied on multiple occasions by the combatants.
“More than 220 schools in Tripoli are closed, depriving 116,000 children of their basic human right to an education. Migrants and refugees, trapped in detention centres near the fighting, have also been affected and continue to suffer in horrendous conditions. This terrible situation cannot be allowed to continue,” said Mr Guterres.
Reiterating his belief that there is no military solution in Libya, the UN chief issued a reminder of the dangerous consequences of a full-blown civil war which, he said, could lead to a “humanitarian nightmare”, and leave the country vulnerable to permanent division.
A civil war also risks further destabilizing the entire southern Mediterranean and Sahel region, exacerbating the threats of terrorism, human trafficking, and the smuggling of drugs and weapons.
World leaders attended the summit in the hope of finding a political solution, as the fighting in Libya continues between the forces of General Khalifa Haftar, which control large tracts of territory in the country, and the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.
General Khaftar’s forces have besieged the capital since April, and the fighting has been fuelled by increasing foreign interference.
Whilst the government is backed by the UN, The Libyan National Army of General Khaftar has support from Russia and some Middle Eastern States.
Mr.Guterres welcomed the recent ceasefire between the two sides, and urged them to “engage in good faith dialogue on political, economic and military issues in a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned inclusive process”, which, he affirmed, will be supported by the UN.
“We will stand with the Libyan people as they work to resolve their differences through discussion and compromise in good faith”, concluded the Secretary-General, “and chart a way to a more peaceful future”. (Source: UN News)