On May 19, 2020, the UN’s acting envoy for Libya Stephanie WILLIAMS said that an increase of foreign support and the influx of weapons, military equipment, and mercenaries for the two rival sides is threatening to intensify the fighting.
WILLIAMS said the escalation will have “devastating consequences for the Libyan people” that are “getting lost in the mix, their voices crowded out”.
She asked the UN Security Council to apply “consistent and credible pressure on those regional and international actors that are fueling the conflict”.
WILLIAMS’ message to the council came a day after forces allied with Libya’s UN-supported government wrested control of a key military base on the periphery of the capital, Tripoli.
“We must not let Libya slip away” said WILLIAMS. “By coming together now, this Council can ensure the collective security it is mandated to maintain by applying consistent and credible pressure on those regional and international actors that are fueling the conflict”.
An “alarming military build-up” is taking place in Libya because foreign backers continue to deploy weapons as well as recruiting more mercenaries to both sides.
WILLIAMS called on Berlin peace summit 2020 participants to urgently back a halt to the inflow of military support from abroad, which violates a UN arms embargo.
Turkey has sent armored drones, air defenses to prop up the embattled Tripoli government while HAFTAR’s forces are backed by the UAE, Egypt, and Russian mercenaries. Syrian militants linked to extremist groups, meanwhile, are fighting on both sides.
Taher Al-SUNNI, Libya’s UN Ambassador told the council that the government forces captured a number of Russian-made air defense systems at the al-Waitya airbase on Monday, destroyed the UAE armored vehicles, and found tons of high-tech weapons. The government forces and their allies have also killed and captured the UAE recruited mercenaries from Chad, Sudan, and Syria and those sent by Russia’s Wagner Group said Al-SUNNI.
Fayez Al-SARRAJ the PM of GNA vowed after HAFTAR’s forces were routed from the airbase on Monday to “liberate all cities and regions” in Libya.
The Libyan envoy Al-SUNNI accused HAFTAR of rejecting every peaceful solution and delegating himself “as the ultimate rule and tyrant of the country” and his “hands are stained with the blood of the innocent”. “Those who have been betting on him have lost their bet”.
On Monday, Libya’s army retook Al-Watiya airbase occupied by HAFTAR’s militias, a key airbase now back under GNA control after six years under putschist forces.
The Libyan army said it will move to liberate the city of Tarhouna, located 140 kilometers southwest of Tripoli.
“Military operations in and around Tarhouna caused new displacement and negatively impacted humanitarian access to the city” the UN envoy WILLIAMS warned.
Vassily NEBENZIA, the Russian Ambassador to UN told the council that Moscow is concerned about reports of growing violations of the arms embargo: “We believe the supply of arms and mercenaries should be stopped”. He said the Russian government has no legislation controlling private military companies and accused the UN experts of basing their findings on “sources of dubious quality” and of “deliberate falsifications” about weapons, with the aim of “discrediting Russia’s policy in Libya”.
UN experts monitoring sanctions against Libya said in a report this month that between 800 and 1200 mercenaries provided by Wagner Group (the private Russian security company) to support HAFTAR has acted “as an effective force multiplier”.
This article was edited using the data from the aljazeera.com, stripes.com, aa.com.tr, and nytimes.com.
Source of the photo: www.aa.com.tr.