Libya seeks UN ‘security’ support

Agence France-Presse
Libya Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala wants the United Nations Support Mission for Libya to be a mission of support for the country's 'security and stability'

CHAOS. Libyans gather at the site of where a mortar shell landed in the capital Tripoli on August 30, 2018. File photo by Mahmud Turkia/AFP

UNITED NATIONS, USA – After a month of militia clashes that left more than 100 people dead, Libya’s UN-backed foreign minister on Friday, September 28 called for the country’s United Nations (UN) political mission to transform into a “security and stability” support role.

Mohamed Siala, foreign minister of the UN-backed Libyan unity government, did not specify if he had in mind a UN peacekeeping mission.

“Priority must be given to security, to stability,” he told the United Nations General Assembly.

“We call for conversion of UNSMIL, which is a special political mission, into a mission of support for Libya’s security and stability,” he said without providing further detail.

The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL), led by Ghassan Salame, was set up in 2011 to assist the country’s new authorities after the NATO-backed revolution which ousted Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

UNSMIL has focused on fostering political dialogue to help the North African country’s transition to democracy.

Under a UN-brokered agreement, the unity government was set up in Tripoli but it is not recognized by a rival administration supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in Libya’s east.

Tripoli itself has been at the center of a battle for influence between armed groups with shifting allegiances. A month of clashes left more than 100 dead south of the city before the unity government on Wednesday, September 26 announced a ceasefire deal between rival militias.

Siala welcomed the efforts of UNSMIL which he said enabled the conclusion of the ceasefire.

“We ask concerned parties to respect it. National and international legal bodies will pursue the authors of these tragic attacks,” he said. – Rappler.com