By Jamie Prentis.
Tunis, 14 February 2017:
Remaining families stranded in Benghazi’s Ganfouda district need to be evacuated immediately, State Council president Abdulrahman Sewehli told UN envoy Martin Kobler in Tripoli today.
He implored Kobler to liaise with aid organisations and, in collaboration with the Libyan Red Crescent, help provide safe passage to those still in the Ganfouda area known as “12 Buildings”.
The area remains a last bastion of militants, but who are proving extremely difficult for the Libyan National Army (LNA) to deal with. For the past four weeks, the LNA has been predicting the imminent capture of the buldings. A number of families managed to leave the area over the past two months, but a handful of civilians are believed to remain.
Another problem is that the wider Ganfouda area is littered with landmines.
Sewehli also criticised those who sought to impose “political agendas’ through the means of force, a resort he described as detrimental to Libyan dialogue attempts. He is seen as referring to Khalifa Ghwell and the newly formed Libyan National Guard (LNG).
Both he and Kobler agreed the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) remained the sole framework on which to base dialogue. According to a State Council statement on its Facebook page, Kobler told Sewehli the UN would not negotiate with groups not included in the LPA – another reference to the LNG.
Kobler also saw Presidency Council (PC) deputy Ahmed Maetig during the day and ways in which UNSMIL could further assist the PC were reportedly discussed. For his part, Maetig briefed the UN envoy on the latest political, military and economic developments in Libya.
So far, little else has been released by either side about the meeting.
Separately, Kobler visited Tripoli’s children’s hospital, Al-Jalaa, and later tweeted that “funds are urgently needed.”
Two weeks ago, the Libya Herald reported the hospital was so cash-strapped that it was only managing to keep its emergency power generators working thanks to an anonymous fuel donation.