Extremely concerned by the dramatic increase in violence against civilians in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for a halt to the fighting and a return to the country’s political objectives.
Rival militias vying for control of Tripoli International Airport triggered heavy clashes yesterday in what media reports describe as the worst fighting in the capital for six months. At least seven people were reportedly killed and dozens others wounded.
In a statement from his spokesperson, Mr. Ban said that he believed the such violent actions “undermine the sacrifices that so many Libyans made during the revolution in order to create a state based on the rule of law.”
“The Secretary-General reiterates the urgent need for dialogue among all Libyan actors to agree on a peaceful way forward for the political transition process,” the statement continued.
The North African country, which has been undergoing a democratic transition since the toppling in 2011 of former leader Muammar al-Qadhafi, has recently witnessed political tensions as well as major security developments, particularly in the eastern part of the country.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has temporarily reduced its staff in the country saying it was not possible for them to continue to deliver advice and technical support in conditions which hamper their freedom of movement, and safety and security.
“This is a temporary measure,” the Mission stressed in a statement. “Staff will return as security conditions permit.”
UNSMIL called on Libyan political forces and armed groups to refrain from the use of violence to achieve political objectives, and reaffirmed the necessity of dialogue as a means to achieve agreement on national priorities.