UNSMIL denies sending peacekeepers to Libya’s capital, Tripoli

The mission has been based in Tunis since 2014

The UNSMIL’s Head Ghassan Salame, has denied the news reports that said the UN will send 250 peacekeepers to the Libyan capital Tripoli.

“All rumors and misinterpretation of the statement given to La Stampa about the peacekeeping mission are untrue.” The UNSMIL’s Head clarified.

Earlier Reuters reported La Stampa as saying that the United Nations is preparing to deploy up to 250 Nepalese guards to Libya to protect its base in the capital as part of a plan to return its operations to the country, the head of the organization’s mission there said on Friday.

Backed by Western governments, the United Nations is trying to heal a rift between Libya’s rival factions in order to stabilize the country and to tackle militant violence and people-smuggling from Libya’s northern coast, it added.

The mission has been based in Tunis since 2014, when fighting among rival Libyan brigades forced out most foreign embassy staff, but it has gradually increased its presence in Libya and has been planning for months for a fuller return, according to the report.

The military unit would probably consist of around 150 guards, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told a news briefing in Geneva.

“To make sure that we protect our colleagues as they deploy in Tripoli there will be a guard unit which will be basically UN military personnel coming from Nepal,” Lacroix said, Reuters added.

Envoy Ghassan Salame told Italian newspaper La Stampa that “a little under 250” could be deployed in the “coming weeks”. It added.

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