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UN briefing on Libya: Use of oil as weapon of war by Haftar exacerbated people’s misery

The acting envoy of the United Nations to Libya Stephanie Williams said in a virtual briefing at the Security Council Wednesday that the use of oil as a weapon of war had only exacerbated the misery of the Libyan people and propelled the country towards economic and social collapse.

“It was clear that the only path out for Libya would be through dialogue and compromise leading to a comprehensive political settlement and culminating in national elections.” Williams told the Security Council in her briefing.

Williams said: “After 14 months of needless death and destruction, those who falsely believed they could achieve their aims through the use of force did not succeed.” Referring to Khalifa Haftar’s war on Tripoli, which kicked off in April 2019.

“Since the Secretary-General last briefed you on 8 July, some 70 resupply flights landed in eastern airports in support of Haftar’s forces. Also, a reported three cargo vessels arrived in support of Haftar’s forces. Foreign sponsors are fortifying their assets at key Libyan air bases.” She said.

She also added that the activity described above constitutes an alarming breach of Libya’s sovereignty, a blatant violation of the UN arms embargo, not to mention the commitments undertaken by the Berlin conference participants.

The Acting Head of the UNSMIL has explained that the UNSMIL continues to receive reports of large-scale presence of foreign mercenaries and operatives, further complicating local dynamics and chances of a future settlement, adding that a gradual demilitarization of Sirte is needed with a mechanism that allows international monitoring of the ceasefire.

Williams said the immiseration of the Libyan people is further compounded by the debilitating effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be spiraling out of control.

She explained that the number of confirmed cases has more than doubled in the last two weeks, with 15,156 cases and 250 recorded deaths as of last Tuesday.

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