Johannesburg – The United Nations (UN) has warned that peace in Libya is a “race against time” while simultaneously on a positive note asserting that a way forward to ending the conflict “is a realistic prospect”.
“Seven and a half months into the conflict in Libya, and given the recent dangerous escalation in hostilities in and around Tripoli, we find ourselves ever more in a race against time to reach a peaceful solution that would spare many lives”, Ghassan Salamé, Special Representative and head of the UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), told UN Security Council Members during a briefing in New York on Tuesday.
Salame expressed anger and sadness at another mass civilian casualty which killed 10 and injured 35 in an indiscriminate airstrike that targeted a biscuit factory on Monday not far from the centre of the capital Tripoli.
The past few days have been characterised by incidents like this one, with many families abandoning areas impacted by the shelling, Salamé said, adding that any further escalation of fighting in Tripoli’s densely-populated areas “would lead to disastrous humanitarian consequences”.
The latest round of fighting in Tripoli began in early April when renegade General Khalifa Haftar’s self-described Libyan National Army (LNA) invaded from the east of the country, where they support an opposing government, in an endeavour to overthrow the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).