Guterres on foreign interference in Libya

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on July 8 that the conflict in Libya has entered a new phase “with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels.”

“The conflict has entered a new phase with foreign interference reaching unprecedented levels, including in the delivery of sophisticated equipment and the number of mercenaries involved in the fighting,” Guterres said.

“We are very concerned about the alarming military build-up around the city, and the high-level of direct foreign interference in the conflict in violation of the U.N. arms embargo, U.N. Security Council resolutions, and commitments made by Member States in Berlin,” Guterres said.

Between April and June this year the U.N. mission has documented at least 102 civilians deaths and 254 civilians injuries – a 172% increase compared to the first quarter of 2020. He said there had also been at least 21 attacks on medical facilities, ambulances and medical personnel.

Guterres also called on the Security Council to take action over the obstruction by several key national officials of an international audit of the Central Bank of Libya.

The Secretary-Genearl said the United Nations was making efforts to mediate an end to a blockade imposed in January by eastern-based forces that has resulted in more than USD6 billion in lost revenue for OPEC member Libya, aiming “to alleviate economic hardship compounded by the conflict and COVID-19.”

The confirmed number of coronavirus cases in Libya increased seven-fold in June to more than 1,000, but Guterres said “the true scale of the pandemic in Libya is likely to be much higher.”

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