UN, world have responsibility on Libya: Premier

A Libyan woman hits a portrait of strongman Khalifa Haftar with a shoe during a demonstration with yellow vests ("gilets jaunes") against him in the capital Tripoli's Martyrs Square on April 19, 2019. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Libya’s foreign minister also calls for warlord Khalifa Haftar to withdraw forces from around capital Tripoli. The UN and the international community have a responsibility in war-torn Libya, Libya’s internationally recognized government told the Human Right Council in Geneva on Monday.

“We would like to remind the United Nations and the international community of their responsibilities in regards to Libya,” Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of Libya’s Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), told the council.

“The Libyan people aspire to a civic state that respects human rights, and that begins with the right to life,” he said.

Al-Sarraj called the war waged by the forces of eastern Libyan-based warlord Khalifa Haftar a “proxy war.”

He said the “aggressor” in Libya is seeking “to overthrow the legitimacy of the state and those who defend it.”

“Children have lost their right to education due to shelling,” said al-Sarraj, adding that those who provide for the attackers and fund them must be held accountable.

“Children have been orphaned by the aggression perpetrated by the war criminal Haftar,” he said.

‘Withdraw from around Tripoli’

Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed A.H. Syala later told a UN press conference that the recognized government insists that Haftar’s forces withdraw from near the capital Tripoli as part of military talks in Geneva.

“All the forces threatening Tripoli must withdraw. They are there with their weapons, and we know where these weapons come from,” said Syala.

“They must withdraw so as not to threaten the residential areas of Tripoli,” thereby endangering the civilian population, he said.

He said that under a pact with Turkey reached last November, “Turkish [assistance] came to protect the civilians of Tripoli”.

Syala, in answer to a question, said his government had not received an invitation to a political round of talks that may be held on Feb. 26, and said he doubted they would take place.

The current talks have three tracks: military, economic, and political.

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the GNA in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Libya’s legitimate government has been under attack by Haftar’s forces since last April, and more than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence.