Libya leaders slam international inaction amid surging violence
GENEVA, Feb 24, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – The head of Libya’s UN-recognised
government slammed his rival Khalifa Haftar before the UN on Monday as a “war
criminal”, and decried international inaction over hostilities raging on the
“The entire world has been able to see the escalation in hostilities and
attacks against the capital Tripoli since April 4, 2019,” Fayez al-Sarraj,
who heads the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), told the UN
Human Rights Council in Geneva.
But despite large numbers of people killed and displaced by the actions of
“the war criminal Mr. Haftar”, Sarraj lamented: “Until today, we have not
seen action by the international community.”
The fighting has claimed more than 1,000 lives and displaced some 140,000,
according to the United Nations.
In the latest outbreak of fighting, Haftar launched his offensive on
Tripoli last April but after rapid advances his forces stalled on the
outskirts of the capital.
“We have repeatedly asked that commissions of inquiry be established to
investigate the violations, the forced displacements, the arbitrary
detentions, the extrajudicial killings,” Sarraj said.
GNA foreign minister Mohamed Taha Syala meanwhile voiced particular
criticism about international inaction to force an end to Haftar’s oil
blockade, warning of the dire humanitarian consequences of cutting off the
country’s main source of income.
The international community, he said, must “instruct opening the oil fields
and opening the ports to feed the Libyan people.”
He told reporters in Geneva that major powers had acted quickly to force an
end to a previous attempt by Haftar to blockade Libya’s oil, but that today
there seemed to be less interest in boosting oil supplies on the global
“I know they don’t want the prices in the market to drop by putting in the
market around one million barrels,” he said, suggesting that “maybe this is
behind the reason” for the international inaction.
“If it is the reason, this is inhuman,” he said.
The GNA leaders’ comments came as the UN announced that indirect
negotiations between military leaders from Libya’s warring sides had agreed
on a draft ceasefire deal, which will now be discussed by the leadership on
Political negotiations are meanwhile scheduled to kick off in Geneva on
UN envoy Ghassan Salame, who was scheduled to meet with Sarraj later on
Monday, has said the political discussions would go ahead despite the
hostilities on the ground.
But Syala said that the GNA had yet to receive an invitation to attend and
that it remained to be seen whether the talks would go ahead as planned.