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Call for humanitarian ceasefire in Libya due to coronavirus 

March 18, 2020 at 11:55 am

Ministers in Libya hold a joint press conference on measures against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in Tripoli, Libya on 16 March 2020 [Hazem Turkia/Anadolu Agency]

The parties to the conflict in Libya have been called upon to declare an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in light of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, Anadolu has reported. The call was made by the Embassies of Algeria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with the Delegation of the European Union and the governments of Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates.

In a joint statement, the signatories also called for an immediate halt to the transfer of all military equipment and personnel into Libya in order to allow the local authorities to respond to the unprecedented public health challenge posed by Covid-19.

The statement expressed strong support for “the efforts of Libyan health authorities across the country as they come together in a spirit of national cohesion” and urged them “to take all necessary measures to support the health and well-being of all Libyans. Such a truce would enable combatants to return home to provide care for relatives who may be at higher risk.”

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Pointing out that a humanitarian truce will facilitate the agreement of the leadership of both Libyan parties to the UN-facilitated 23 February draft ceasefire deal reached in Geneva, the statement added that this would be within the framework of the 5+5 Intra-Libyan Joint Military Commission and a return to political dialogue.

As of Monday evening, no infections or suspected infections with the coronavirus have been reported in Libya.