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UN Envoy Says Peace in Libya Possible if Parties Shun Foreign Meddling

UN Envoy Says Peace in Libya Possible if Parties Shun Foreign Meddling

Tuesday, 19 November, 2019 - 06:15
UN Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya March 20, 2019. (Reuters)

United Nations envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame said that peace in the country was possible if parties rejected foreign interference, adding that an attack on a Tripoli factory Monday may amount to a war crime.

He told the UN Security Council that preparations for an international summit in Berlin are underway and that a "crucial" meeting of senior officials Wednesday aims to reach agreement on an outline of actions needed to end the conflict.

These include a return to the Libyan-led peace process, a ceasefire, implementation of the arms embargo against Libya, security and economic reforms, and upholding international human rights and humanitarian law, he said.

He pleaded with foreign actors to honor the arms embargo.

The weeks ahead will be critical, Salame said, adding that he is "determined to see the end of this debilitating conflict."

He told the council in a video briefing from the region that "ending the conflict and agreeing to the way forward is a realistic prospect."

But he cautioned that the violence is being fueled by a growing involvement of mercenaries and fighters from foreign private military companies. He also pointed to drone strikes and aerial attacks by foreign supporters of the warring sides.

"External investment in the conflict risks surpassing the amount of national involvement, taking control of Libya’s future away from the Libyans and putting it in the hands of foreign parties," he warned.

"Once invited in, foreign intervention is the guest that settles and seizes control of the house," the envoy added.

Further, he said: "The violence is facilitated by Libya’s plethora of Gaddafi-era arms as well as by continued shipments of war materiel brought into the country in breach of the arms embargo," ranging from spare parts for fighter aircraft and tanks to bullets and precision missiles.

Salame urged all Libyans to reject outside interference in their country’s affairs and to urge outside countries to implement the arms embargo "and commit tangibly to ending the conflict on the ground, before it’s too late."

He said the outlines of an agreement are known, options for a constitutional framework exist and electoral legislation has been produced before.

"All that is needed now is for you, the international community, to come together to provide the necessary umbrella for the Libyan parties themselves to join hands to end the conflict and resume dialogue," Salame said.

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