New clashes in Libya despite the UN ceasefire call | News

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<pre><pre>New clashes in Libya despite the UN ceasefire call | News

Rival forces clashed in the Libyan capital, and Tripoli caused new civilian casualties in the conflict, a day after a UN Security Council resolution (UNSC) demanded a "lasting ceasefire."

The resolution was the first of the council since the renegade military commander based in the east, Khalifa Haftar, launched an offensive last April to seize Tripoli, the headquarters of the Government of National Agreement (GNA) recognized by the UN.

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But his call for the consolidation of a fragile truce observed since January 12 has had no effect on the ground.

On Thursday, a new round of violence on the southern outskirts of the Libyan capital left civilians dead and injured. GNA spokesman Moustafa al-Mejii confirmed that the fight had broken out.

The rockets also hit residential neighborhoods, killing a woman and injuring four other civilians, said Health Ministry spokesman Amin al-Hachimi.

The only functional airport in Tripoli, Mitiga, which was frequently closed by bombing, suspended flights for several hours after being hit by a rocket attack before resuming operations.

Witnesses heard explosions in the mainly agricultural area of ​​Machrou al-Hadhba, about 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of downtown Tripoli.

Attack & # 39; repelled & # 39;

Al-Mejii accused the pro-Haftar forces of repeatedly violating a ceasefire demanded by the external powers Russia and Turkey.

"The Haftar militias tried to advance in the Machrou al-Hadhba region, but our forces repelled the attack," he said.

Despite the truce, since then there have been sporadic struggles almost every day near Tripoli.

Arms have continued to flow into the country even though world leaders agreed at a January summit to end all foreign interference in Libya and maintain a UN arms embargo, imposed since 2011 when a NATO-backed uprising overthrew to the ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Libya has been in chaos since then, with a series of armed groups linked to rival administrations competing for power, while foreign powers continue to intervene on both sides.

Russia has been accused of sending several thousand mercenaries from a private security company to support Haftar, accusations the Kremlin denies.

Other foreign players include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Jordan that have reinforced Haftar, while Turkey supports the GNA.

The UN chief, Antonio Guterres, criticized the continued foreign interference in Libya as a "scandal."

International divisions

The UNSC resolution passed on Wednesday affirmed "the need for a lasting ceasefire in Libya as soon as possible, without preconditions."

He also requested that the negotiations of a joint military commission established in January between the two parties continue, with the aim of achieving a "permanent ceasefire."

This would include a monitoring system, a separation of forces and confidence building measures.

The commission meeting in Geneva ended on Saturday without a resolution, but the UN proposed to resume talks starting on February 18.

The Security Council resolution, drafted by the United Kingdom, was approved by 14 votes out of 15, and Russia abstained.

London had chosen to continue mentioning the "concern of the council for the growing participation of mercenaries in Libya," terminology that had been the subject of weeks of disputes, reflecting the deep international divisions over Libya.

Russia had pressed to replace the word "mercenaries,quot; with "foreign terrorist fighters,quot;, but it was unsuccessful.

Red Cross Warning

Diplomatic efforts to contain the violence were underway on Thursday.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio held talks with Haftar in the second city of Benghazi on Thursday, Haftar's office said, a day after Di Maio met with GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj, in Tripoli.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, whose country has tried to mediate in the crisis in recent weeks, also discussed Libya with Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Dendias.

& # 39; Silencing weapons & # 39;: UA leaders seek an end to regional conflicts

The UN says that more than 1,000 people have died in clashes between Haftar and the GNA since April, while another 140,000 have been displaced.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday accused pro-Haftar forces of using cluster munitions in a residential area in Tripoli on December 2.

"The use of cluster munitions shows a reckless disregard for the safety of civilians," said Stephen Goose, director of the group's weapons division, in a statement.

The head of the Red Cross, Peter Maurer, warned Thursday that if the situation worsens, the Libyans could flee the country.

"If we cannot stabilize the situation by political and humanitarian means … there could be a population flow like the one we see when people lose hope," the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross told the AFP news agency in Tunisia.

In addition to the deadly violence, the National Petroleum Corporation of Libya warned of a new economic crisis and said that the country's vital oil production and revenues had fallen since the Berlin conference on January 19.

Oil production now stood at 191,475 barrels per day (bpd) compared to 1.2 million bpd before world leaders met in Berlin, representing a revenue loss of $ 1.4 million, according to a statement.

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