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Libyan Army Welcomes Humanitarian Pause in Fighting

Libyan Army Welcomes Humanitarian Pause in Fighting

Sunday, 22 March, 2020 - 05:45
Spokesman of Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed Al-Mismari gestures during a news conference in Benghazi, Libya, March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

The Libyan National Army of Khalifa Haftar has “welcomed” calls for a new ceasefire made by the United Nations and several countries.

In a statement read by LNA spokesman Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari on Saturday, Haftar’s forces said they "continue to respect the truce".

"The General Command is committed to stopping fighting so long as the other parties abide by it," he said in a statement in reference to the Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Mismari said that despite the violations committed by the militias backing Sarraj, the LNA continues to abide by calls for a cessation of hostilities.

The UN and some individual countries had called on the two sides to stop fighting to make it easier to deal with the coronavirus, although no cases have yet been confirmed in Libya.

The LNA spokesman said that Turkey “took advantage of the repatriation of Libyan citizens stranded at its airports (due to the coronavirus outbreak) and transported terrorists” to Libya.

It also sent arms and ammunition to the country, Mismari added.

He warned that smuggling fighters from Turkey amid the COVID-19 outbreak, risks spreading the disease in Tripoli and the rest of the country.

“The GNA is fully responsible for such immoral crimes committed against Libyans,” he said.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday welcomed positive responses to calls for a humanitarian pause in fighting to allow authorities to respond to the public health challenge posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UN chief “hopes that this will be translated into an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“Given the already dire humanitarian situation in Libya and the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the secretary-general calls on the parties to join forces to address the threat and to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian aid throughout the country,” he said.

Guterres urges both sides to accept the draft ceasefire agreement reached during UN-facilitated talks in Geneva last month, Dujarric said.

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