UN calls for ceasefire in Libya and political solution

North Africa

The call made by the UN has fallen on deaf ears as the fighting between the Libyan National Army and the forces of the Government of National Accord continues.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) is being accused of escalating political tensions in Libya following its military advance against the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, which started on 4-5 April.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned what he described as military escalation and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. UN Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salamé, has also criticised the detrimental consequences that this new round of fighting is having on the political gains made by international and intra-Libyan negotiations over the past few months.

The UN estimates that around 3,000 people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of this new bout of fighting, and around 50 people have been killed.

The UN had planned for a two-day conference to be held in the town of Ghadames to bring together the different Libyan political forces in a bid to push forward national reconciliation negotiations in the hope that presidential and parliamentary elections would take place later this year. This conference has nevertheless been postponed as a result of the military advance. Elections have also previously been postponed due to outbreaks of military conflict.

UN-led talks had taken place fairly recently in Abu Dhabi between the two main opposing leaders in Libya, Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the GNA, and Khalifa Haftar, head of the LNA. These talks led to an agreement between the two leaders, which brought about a positive response from the international community.

Nevertheless, during this period, Haftar and his forces have been making significant territorial and strategic gains, especially in the southern regions of the country. These advances have given Haftar the confidence to launch an offensive on the Libyan capital and the UN-backed GNA, thus breaking down relations that were meant to be solidified following the UN-led talks in Abu Dhabi at the end of February.