Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 19 September 2020

UN chief backs African Union role in resolving Libyan crisis

Antonio Guterres calls for AU mediation at gathering of continent’s leaders in Addis Ababa

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks at a press conference at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 8, 2020. AFP
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks at a press conference at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 8, 2020. AFP

UN chief Antonio Guterres pledged to support any mediation efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis during the African Union summit on Sunday.

African heads of state gathered at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to discuss how the body could play a role in resolving conflicts across the continent.

“The United Nations will support any mediation sponsored by the African Union to resolve the Libyan crisis, and we stress the need for a ceasefire,” Mr Guterres said in his address to the meeting.

Mr Guterres said the African Union must play a greater role in resolving the conflict.

The latest round of fighting erupted last April when eastern-based forces under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar laid siege to Tripoli in a bid to drive out militias aligned with the Government of National Accord led by Prime Minister Fayez Al Sarraj.

A January 12 ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey reduced the level of fighting but there have been repeated breaches by both sides.

Military commanders from the warring parties held indirect talks in Geneva last week on a permanent ceasefire. The officers, five from each side, are expected to hold further talks later this month.

The Arab League Secretary General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, vowed to “secure” the ceasefire and to stop external meddling in Libyan affairs.

“The Arab League in partnership with the African Union will spare no efforts in alleviating the Libyan crisis,” Mr Aboul Gheit said.

Arab states will support “an inclusive national reconciliation process,” he said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said the continuation of conflicts in the region increased the risk of terrorism and extremism on the African continent.

“The transfer of insurgents from Syria to Libya will have serious repercussions not only for Libya but for its neighbouring countries,” Mr El Sisi said.

“Security and stability will prevail in Libya through a peaceful settlement that allows for a fair distribution of wealth and power.”

Mr El Sisi said Egypt planned to host an African counterterrorism summit.

Updated: February 9, 2020 06:23 PM

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