UNSMIL welcomes positive responses by fighting Libyan parties to calls for humanitarian pause

By Sami Zaptia.

London, 21 March 2020:

UNSMIL welcomed today what it called ‘‘the positive responses’’ by both the fighting Libyan parties to calls for a humanitarian pause amidst the worldwide Coronavirus (Covid19) outbreak.

The UNSMIL statement comes on the back of an international call, including UNSMIL, for a pause in fighting on 17 March and subsequent positive but conditional statements issued by both the internationally recognized Libyan government in Tripoli on 19 March and the Khalifa Hafter led Libyan National Army (LNA) today.

The international call for a pause also follows on from continued fighting on the outskirts of the capital Tripoli and ongoing heavy indiscriminate shelling which has led to the death of innocent civilians – within civilian areas of the city. Indeed, the fighting has continued for the majority of the days since the Berlin conference calling for a truce.

The UNSMIL statement said that it welcomed the positive responses by the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army to the calls for of a humanitarian pause, and hopes that they stop the fighting immediately on all fronts to allow national health authorities and health partners to respond to the potential threat of COVID-19 in the country.

It called on all parties to join forces, work together and direct their powers and resources to support Libyans and local authorities to improve their preparedness to battle this pandemic and prevent catastrophic consequences. This includes allowing unhindered access to the provisions of humanitarian assistance, goods and food items, and to allow WHO and health sector partners to work unimpeded in all parts of the country.

UNSMIL also said that it hoped this humanitarian pause would eventually lead to the approval by both Libyan parties’ leadership of the UN-facilitated draft ceasefire agreement of 23 February, as reached in Geneva in the framework of the 5+5 intra-Libyan Joint Military Commission.

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