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Acting Head of UN Mission: Military escalation is straining Libya’s ability to tackle Coronavirus outbreak

The acting Head of UNSMIL Stephenie Williams has said that military escalation in Libya’s year-long war is straining the country’s ability to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, adding that foreign powers intervention in Libya continues to flout the UN arms embargo.

“It’s incredibly reckless. It’s inhumane, it’s stretching the capacity of local authorities and the health infrastructure that is already decimated. And they’re whistling past the graveyard, that’s what they’re doing.” Stephanie Williams told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday.

She added that every call for a truce, even when it’s accepted by both sides, seems to inevitably lead to an escalation, both by the parties on the ground but also foreign sponsors.

According to Williams, “UN-led negotiations to resolve the conflict resulted in a ceasefire agreement in February that’s yet to be ratified, and a deal to start economic reforms. Those would have included a deal on oil revenue distribution by the Tripoli-based central bank, a key demand from Haftar, who in January allowed loyalists to close down oil fields. But an international audit of the bank has been obstructed by Libya’s own audit bureau.”

She added that the obstructing parties are now hindering a process whose purpose is to enhance transparency and accountability, and by the way empower the help the audit bureau to restore its rightful place.

“There’s a crisis over legitimacy, there’s a crisis over power and authority and access to resources.” She remarked.

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