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Libya FM asks UN mission to adopt 'security' role

FM Mohamed Siala at a press conference in Moscow [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 September, 2018

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The call follows a month of violence between rival militia groups in Tripoli that has killed more than 100 and displaced thousands.
Libya's UN-backed foreign minister on Friday called on the UN's political mission in the country to take up a "security and stability" support role.

The call comes after a month of militia clashes in the capital Tripoli left more than 100 people dead.

Mohamed Siala, who made the remarks at the UN General Assembly in New York City, did not specify if he had in mind a UN peacekeeping mission. 

"We call for conversion of UNSMIL, which is a special political mission, into a mission of support for Libya's security and stability," he said without providing further detail.

The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL), led by Ghassan Salame, was set up in 2011 to assist the country's new authorities after the NATO-backed revolution which ousted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

UNSMIL has focused on fostering political dialogue to help the North African country's transition to democracy.

Under a UN-brokered agreement, the unity government was set up in Tripoli but it is not recognised by a rival administration supported by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in Libya's east.

Tripoli itself has been at the centre of a battle for influence between armed groups with shifting allegiances. A month of clashes left more than 100 dead south of the city before the unity government on Wednesday announced a ceasefire deal between rival militias.

Siala welcomed the efforts of UNSMIL which he said enabled the conclusion of the ceasefire.

"We ask concerned parties to respect it. National and international legal bodies will pursue the authors of these tragic attacks," he said.

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