Libyan minister seeks UN’S help on security issues
‘We call for conversion of UNSMIL, which is a special political mission, into a mission of support for Libya’s security and stability,’ Siala tells the United Nations General Assembly in New York
UNITED NATIONS: After a month of militia clashes that left more than 100 people dead, Libya’s Un-backed foreign minister on Friday called for the country’s UN political mission to transform into a “security and stability” support role.
Mohamed Siala, foreign minister of the Un-backed Libyan unity government, did not specify if he had in mind a UN peacekeeping mission.
“Priority must be given to security, to stability,” he told the United Nations General Assembly.
“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 leader Muammar Qadhai.
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 inluence 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.
On Thursday, Libya’s internationally recognised government announced the release of 83 prisoners from a jail where the United Nations has documented torture and summary executions.
The prison at the Mitiga airbase, one of the biggest detention facilities in the capital Tripoli, is run by the Special Deterrence Force, a militia that serves as a police force for the Government of National Accord (GNA).
The United Nations mission in Libya welcomed the releases from Mitiga and called for “all remaining prisoners” who were arbitrarily detained or had passed the legal pre-trial custody period to be set free.