UN welcomes implementation of Eid Al-Adha truce in Libya, offers lasting ceasefire

United Nations Mission in Libya – UNSMIL. [Photo: Libyan Express]

UNSMIL has welcomed in a statement the positive response by the Libyan parties to the humanitarian  truce during Eid Al-Adha and the palpable reduction of violence in the Tripoli area.

“On 9 August, the Government of National Accord promptly responded to the mission’s call and announced a unilateral cessation of hostilities in all areas of clashes, under the condition that the Libyan National Army cease all ground and air operations including reconnaissance flights as well as movements and mobilization of forces. The Libyan National Army on 10 August, after the expiration of the Mission’s publicly declared deadline, announced the halt of military operations only in the suburbs of Tripoli for the duration of 48 hours starting at 1500 on the same day, thus setting its own time window.” UNSMIL said on Wednesday.

It added that despite the notable reduction in violence during the period of the truce, violations were reported to the mission.

“In the morning hours of 11 August, tank and artillery fire was reported in the Salahaddin area. Later in the morning, three Grad rockets were fired indiscriminately from southern Tripoli towards Mitiga Airport; two rockets impacted the airport causing material damage to the runway, which forced a temporary halt to air operations; and one rocket hit a residential building in the adjacent neighbourhood, injuring four civilians. During mid-day, tank and artillery fire were reported in the Kasirma area north of Tripoli International Airport. In the evening hours, skirmishes were reported in Wadi Rabia and the Salahaddin area.” It explained.

UNSMIL also indicated that overflights by unmanned reconnaissance aircraft over the city of Misrata continued during the day.

“On 12 August, skirmishes were reported in the Tweisheh area south of Tripoli International Airport, in addition to overflights by unmanned reconnaissance aircraft over the city during the day.  UNSMIL reiterates that indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas may constitute a war crime.” UNSMIL said.

According to UNSMIL, the truce was not respected in Murzuq where communal violence between the Tebu and al-Ahali communities continued, killing seven individuals and wounding 54 others.

“UNSMIL also received continued reports of burned houses, lootings and other retaliatory attacks. As of 12 August, the ongoing acts of violence displaced approximately 5,000 individuals to Wadi Ettebah and around 200 to Al Gatroun area.” It added.

The Special Representative of the Secretary General offers UNSMIL’s continued assistance to facilitate the exchange of prisoners, is prepared to name a focal point, and to suggesr a mechanism for these exchanges in cooperation with the parties and relevant local social leaders.

Ghassan Salame also announced the readiness of UNSMIL to immediately use its good offices to transform what was accomplished in the period of truce into a permanent ceasefire.

“UNSMIL welcomes the International Community’s declarations of support for the truce and renews the SRSG’s proposal to convene a meeting of concerned countries.” The  statement added.

It added that the International Community should work towards providing guarantees for a permanent ceasefire, a call for upholding the arms embargo, and a commitment to return in good faith to a UN-sponsored comprehensive solution.

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