UN set to vote on 55-point Libya ceasefire roadmap

The vote comes amid increasing international efforts to end the conflict

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 11: The United Nations (UN) Security Council meets to hear from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the UN in New York on February 11, 2020 in New York City. Abbas used the world body to denounce the US peace plan between Israel and Palestine Donald Trump's proposal for Israeli-Palestinian peace, which was released on January 28, has been met with universal Palestinian opposition.   Spencer Platt/Getty Images/AFP
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A 55-point plan to end the Libyan conflict will go in front of the UN Security Council on Wednesday amid a flurry of diplomatic efforts to end fighting in the state.

The British-drafted resolution demands the warring parties “commit to a lasting ceasefire” and insists on full compliance with a UN arms embargo that has been repeatedly broken, as laid out in the plan approved by leaders of 12 world powers and other countries at a meeting on January 19 in Berlin.

It also recalls the commitment of all participants at the meeting to refrain from interfering in the conflict and the North African country’s internal affairs and expresses concern “over the growing involvement of mercenaries in Libya.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said last week that the agreement has been repeatedly breached by continuing arms deliveries to the warring parties and escalating fighting.

He called the current offensives by rival forces “a scandal,” saying the commitments “apparently were made without a true intention of respecting them.”

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war and Nato-led intervention toppled longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi, who was later killed.

A weak administration that holds the capital of Tripoli and parts of the country’s west is backed by Turkey, which last month sent thousands of Syrian mercenaries and soldiers to Libya, and to a lesser degree by Qatar and Italy.

On the other side is a rival government in the east that supports Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, whose forces launched an offensive to capture the capital last April, saying he sought to end the rule of the rag-tag militias that back the Tripoli administration. Field Marshal Haftar is backed by other Arab states, including Egypt, as well as Russia and France.

The draft resolution welcomes last week’s ceasefire talks between Libya’s warring sides in Geneva and calls for their continuation “without further delay in order to agree a permanent ceasefire”.

It asks Mr Guterres to submit his views on conditions for a ceasefire and proposals for effective monitoring of a truce, with a view to making detailed recommendations when a ceasefire is announced.

Russia and South Africa objected to an earlier text of the resolution.

Russia sought some major changes that were not accepted, including changing the welcome for the Berlin conference to “takes note of” the meeting and changing the expression of concern over the growing involvement of mercenaries to “foreign terrorist fighters”. The draft does reaffirm “the need to combat … threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”

The Security Council on Tuesday voted 14-0 with Russia abstaining on a resolution extending the arms embargo, travel ban, asset freeze and other sanctions on Libya and Libyans until April 30, 2021. It also extended the mandate of the UN panel of experts monitoring the implementation of the sanctions until May 15, 2021.

The draft resolution condemns attempts to illegally export oil and refined petroleum products from Libya and asks the UN experts to report on banned exports or imports to Libya of petroleum, including crude oil and refined petroleum products.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia objected to the reference to oil imports.