Portuguese / Spanish / English

Middle East Near You

Sarraj calls for European position against civilian targeting

Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) holds a press conference in Tripoli, Libya on February 15, 2020 [Hazem Turkia / Anadolu Agency]
Fayez al-Sarraj, Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) holds a press conference in Tripoli, Libya on 15 February 2020 [Hazem Turkia / Anadolu Agency]

The Head of the Libyan government’s Presidential Council Fayez Al-Sarraj expressed strong resentment at the failure of the European Union (EU) to take a firmer and more effective stance towards crimes carried out against civilians.

Al-Sarraj communicated his position in a phone call with the EU’s foreign policy coordinator, Josep Borrell, regarding the changes to the situation in Libya and the latest military developments, according to a statement by Al-Sarraj’s media office. Al-Sarraj added that these violations are systematic, and they are considered war crimes, crimes against humanity and a serious violation of the rules of international humanitarian law.

Al-Sarraj cited the example of General Khalifa Haftar militias’ bombing of an IDP shelter in the centre of the capital of Tripoli that killed seven people and injured 17 others.

Since 4 April, 2019, Haftar’s militias, backed by Arab and European countries, have launched a faltering offensive to take over Tripoli, the headquarters of the government, killing and injuring civilians, and causing large material damages. Consequently, Borrell conveyed in a statement the EU’s keenness to achieve stability in Libya, indicating concern about the escalation of violence.

READ: Why has Libya’s Interior Minister asked the US to establish a base there? 

The “Libyan Political Agreement” of 2015 is the only internationally-recognised framework for the country’s management and political transition, stressed Borrell.

He noted his appreciation for Al-Sarraj’s eagerness to implement the peace path, and his hope for the resumption of the Geneva 5 + 5 military talks, which approved a ceasefire mechanism.

Borrell explained the tasks of Operation IRINI, launched by the EU in the Mediterranean, to enforce the arms embargo on Libya issued under an international resolution in 2011.

Al-Sarraj renewed his objection to the limitation of this operation to the Mediterranean, stressing that it needs to be integrated by land, air and sea. He added that the military supplies for Haftar, the aggressor, have not stopped, which is the reason for his continued violations and aggressive operations. The United Nations (UN) sent a message to all parties involved in the Libyan conflict that it is necessary to: “Stop violence, put down weapons and resume the political process.”

The message came from the spokesman of the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric at an online press conference with journalists, at the headquarters of the organisation in New York.

In response to the role that the UN can play in the Libyan crisis, Dujarric explained: “Our message to all parties remains the same; that is stopping violence, implementing a ceasefire and resuming the political process.”

He added: “It is clear that we are fully aware of the continuous and blatant violence taking place in Libya. Libya is the most vulnerable country in which civilians, refugees and migrants are still suffering due to attacks targeting health care facilities and civil infrastructure.”

READ: Haftar has one strategic goal, which he must achieve or die

Libya’s delegate to the UN, Taher Al-Sunni, announced that his country would brief the UN Security Council on the crimes committed by Haftar.

Al-Sunni continued: “We are celebrating the victories of our Libyan National Army (LNA). The liberation of Al-Wattia air base and the cities on the west coast is only the beginning of the end for the aggressor and his affiliates.”

Al-Sunni elaborated that: “We will brief the UN Security Council and carefully follow the positions of member states regarding a series of violations and war crimes that took place in the country, in addition to the weapons that have been found, proving the involvement of certain countries in killing the Libyans.”

The Libyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has pledged to work with all relevant ministries to: “Document violations of countries supporting Haftar, through the arms discovered at Al-Wattia air base.

“We will brief the UN Security Council on the weapons found at Al-Wattia air base as evidence that several countries have violated the arms embargo (issued in 2011), especially the discovery of the Russian Pantsir missile system, which Abu Dhabi provided to Haftar’s militias.”

AfricaEUInternational OrganisationsLibyaNews
Show Comments
Show Comments