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US, Russia say cannot support a UN call for Libya truce: diplomats

US, Russia say cannot support a UN call for Libya truce: diplomats

2019/04/19 | 12:45

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)- The United States and Russia both said on Thursday they

could not support a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a

ceasefire in Libya at this time, diplomats said, as mortar bombs crashed down

on a suburb of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, according to Reuters.Russia objects to the British-drafted resolution blaming

eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar for the latest flare-up in violence

when his Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli

earlier this month, diplomats said.The United States gave no reason for its position on the

draft resolution, which would also call on countries with influence over the

warring parties to ensure compliance and for unconditional humanitarian aid

access in Libya, which has been gripped by anarchy since Muammar Gaddafi was

toppled in 2011.The United States’ UN mission declined to comment and the

Russian UN mission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.A resolution needs nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the

United States, Britain, France, Russia or China – the so-called permanent five –

to pass. It was not immediately clear if Britain would persist with

negotiations on a draft next week.The United States and Russia made their positions clear

during a closed-door council briefing by UN Libya envoy Ghassan Salame, who

diplomats said appealed for a ceasefire, warning that weapons were pouring into

the country and it was heading toward a serious humanitarian situation.The US reluctance to support Security Council action is in

contrast to Washington’s earlier public opposition to Haftar’s offensive, which

began while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was visiting Tripoli.Some UN diplomats have suggested the United States might be

trying to buy time as President Donald Trump’s administration works out how to

deal with the latest developments in Libya.“I think there are a range of views in Washington on the

policy side and they haven’t reconciled them and they’re not entirely certain

where the president is on it,” said a senior UN diplomat, speaking on condition

of anonymity.“The American system is trying to evaluate all the scenarios

and work out which one is in America’s best interest and just hasn’t done that

yet,” the diplomat said.CONCERNHaftar’s forces predicted victory within days, but Prime

Minister Fayez al-Sarraj’s internationally recognized government has bogged

them down in southern suburbs with help from armed groups from various western

Libyan factions.A united Security Council informally expressed concern on

April 5, calling on all forces to de-escalate and halt military activity and

specifically calling out the LNA.In the following days, the council was unable, however, to

issue a more formal statement, diplomats said, as Russia objected to a

reference to the LNA, while the United States said it could not agree to a text

that did not mention Haftar’s forces.US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then said in a statement

on April 7 that “we have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by

Khalifa Haftar’s forces and urge the immediate halt to these military

operations against the Libyan capital.”Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates

and Saudi Arabia, which view him as an anchor to restore stability and combat

Islamist militants, while most Western powers have supported Sarraj.Trump met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on

April 9.French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke with Pompeo

about Libya on Thursday and both agreed on the need for a “rapid” ceasefire and

return to the UN-led political process, the French foreign ministry said in a

statement. Paris has given Haftar support in the past.











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