UN passes resolution supporting Libya ceasefire

New York: The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday passed a resolution demanding that the warring parties in Libya commit to a lasting ceasefire and condemning the recent increase in violence, with Russia abstaining from the vote.

The British-drafted resolution endorses the outcomes of the January 19 Berlin summit on Libya, when international leaders vowed to uphold a UN arms embargo, enable a peace process and end outside interference and military support for the fighting factions.

The text also calls for the continuation of talks between the factions in Geneva under the auspices of the UN, after a first round ended on Saturday without a ceasefire deal, according to Deautsche press agency (dpa).

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the adoption of the resolution was a “big step” on the path towards a solution for the 9-year conflict.

“The outcomes of the Berlin conference are now binding for all sides,” he said in a statement.

Maas is on Sunday set to host around a dozen foreign ministers of countries that participated in Berlin at the margins of the Munich Security Conference.

Russia, which did not join the 14 other Security Council members in approving the resolution, complained that it had been “rushed” and had a major defect: “A lack of clearly expressed consent from the Libyan sides themselves.”

“We have serious doubts that in the form that it was drafted this resolution will contribute to any kind of solution,” Moscow’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said.

Russia had earlier sought to make amendments to the text, including changing the expression of concern over the growing involvement of mercenaries to “foreign terrorist fighters.” The changes were not accepted.

US officials have accused Moscow of flooding Libya with mercenaries.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of dictator Moamer Gaddafi and has become a battleground for rival proxy forces.

In recent months, a civil war has escalated between internationally recognized Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj, who has the support of Turkey, and rival commander Khalifa Haftar, backed by Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres last week condemned “dramatic” violations of the truce and arms embargo following the Berlin conference.

He called the recent offensives by rival forces a “scandal” and pointed to reports of equipment being delivered from the UAE and through Egypt, as well as the involvement of Turkish troops, mercenaries from Sudan and elements of a Russian private company operating in the war-torn nation.

Earlier on Wednesday, the UN said planes transporting its staff had not been granted permission to land in Libya by Haftar’s forces in recent weeks.

Spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the UN was concerned that preventing the flights would severely hinder its efforts at a time when the UN was trying to get the warring sides to negotiate a peace deal and “provide much-needed humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable conflict-affected civilians.”

Source: Bahrain News Agency