FILE PHOTO: Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognized government prepare themselves before heading to Sirte, in Tripoli, Libya, Libya July 6, 2020. REUTERS/Ayman Sahely/File Photo
CAIRO - 26 September 2020: The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) reported on Friday it is following with great concern the clashes between two armed groups in Tajoura, a civilian-populated neighborhood in Tripoli, involving heavy weapons, which resulted in damages to private properties and put civilians in harm’s way.
The Mission calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities and reminds all parties of their obligations per international humanitarian law. This act underscores the urgent need for much-needed reform of the Libyan security sector, it added in a statement.
On 15 September, the Security Council extended the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya one more year as Russia abstained from voting on the resolution.
The spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said the leadership of the UNSMIL would see the appointment of a new head to replace Ghassan Salame who resigned last March.
The Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointed Stephenie Williams as an acting head of UNSMIL till a new head is selected.
Local media outlets in Libya said the Security Council had appointed the former Bulgarian Foreign Minister, Nicolai Miladinov, as the new Head of UNSMIL.
Libya envoy Ghassan Salame resigned last March for health reasons, since then, a dispute between the US and other countries led to halting the naming of a replacement to Salame.
Even when Guterres announced that the former Algerian Foreign Minister Ramthan Lemamra was in the run for the post, the US prevented him from being appointed and this act was also repeated with a new candidate, a former Guinean Minister.
The US called for splitting the role of the UNSMIL Head and Special Envoy to be a political envoy and ahead: two different figures as it is done in Cyprus or UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO).
Libya is suffering a severe division between two factions; the Libyan Parliament and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Field Marshal KhalifaHaftar in the east and the GNA led by Fayez Al-Sarraj. The latter is internationally recognized but is not accepted by the Parliament.
Hundreds were killed in continuous battles between the LNA and the forces of the GNA over the past year.
Oil-rich Libya has been mired in chaos since the ouster and killing of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. It now has two rival authorities and a multitude of militias vying for control of the country.
The country’s internationally recognised government is based in Tripoli, while KhalifaHaftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, is supported by a parallel administration based in the east.