By James Reinl
UNITED NATIONS (AA) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday lauded a “major step” forward in ending Libya’s civil war but urged the warring forces to turn the current truce into a permanent ceasefire.
Addressing reporters in New York, Guterres said a summit this past weekend in the German capital Berlin had paved the way for a political deal to end the oil-rich North African nation’s damaging conflict.
“We have a truce. The truce is having some violations, but not widespread violations. They are localized until now. We need to move to a ceasefire, and from the ceasefire, we need to move to a real political process,” he said.
UN Security Council members met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss Libya after world leaders met in Berlin on Sunday to pledge to support a peace process and to halt weapons supplies to Libyan armed groups.
The leaders included statesmen from the U.S., Britain, France, Italy, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Russia, Algeria, China and the Republic of Congo. They agreed to a truce, to stop sending arms to Libya and to work towards a peace deal.
Also present in Berlin was the head of Tripoli’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, and his rival, renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Speaking at UN headquarters Tuesday, Guterres urged Haftar and al-Sarraj to deliver on expectations.
“My message is: accept fully the conclusions of the Berlin summit and assume that the leadership in a situation like this is a leadership for peace, is a leadership for a united Libya able to be ruled by Libyans in peace, in security and cooperating with its neighbors in a positive way,” he said.
The UN talks marked the latest bid to restore stability and peace to Libya, which has been splintered between rival factions and militias since former strongman Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed during a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.
The divided country has two rival administrations: the UN-recognized GNA and another allied with Haftar in the eastern city of Tobruk.