Libyans need to turn foreign interference into foreign assistance: UN envoy

Stephanie Williams, the acting UN envoy to Libya, stressed on the need to remove foreign forces and mercenaries from Libya and to push political talks forward, adding that the continuation of the daily entry of arms into the country was unacceptable.

Williams spoke to Al Arabiya’s UN Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj in an exclusive interview in which she spoke on the latest efforts to reach a comprehensive peace agreement between rival warring factions in Libya.

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“It is unacceptable the level of military equipment that is coming in on a daily basis, the continuing inflow of foreign forces and mercenaries, so the risk of miscalculation militarily on the ground remains, and the general unsustainability of the situation, the socio economic particularly situation in the country, this makes the need for us all to move toward political talks very urgent,” Williams told Al Arabiya.

Williams, the acting special representative of the UN Secretary General for Libya and deputy special representative of the UN Secretary General for Libya, also warned on other issues currently being faced by Libyans, especially during the global coronavirus pandemic.

“On the other hand there are still some troubling developments that I think we need to keep an eye on, one of course is the fact that there are still severe electricity and water shortages throughout the country, you have people going sometimes 18-20 hours even longer per day without electricity, this during a global pandemic which is hitting Libya quite hard,” she said.

The United Nations condemned on Saturday clashes between two armed groups in a residential suburb of the Libyan capital and the use of heavy weapons.

UNSMIL, the world body's support mission in Libya, in a statement late Friday expressed "great concern" over the fighting in the eastern suburb of Tajoura.

"Heavy weapons" were used in a "civilian-populated neighborhood", in clashes that caused "damage to private properties and put civilians in harm's way", it said.

Williams condemned the level of foreign intervention in Libya, adding that it was time for Libyans to push for a turning point in their country’s political talks.

“What we need is to turn that foreign interference into foreign assistance and to helping the Libyans who now want to come back together, who want to go to the dialogue table,” she said.

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Last Update: Saturday, 26 September 2020 KSA 21:53 - GMT 18:53
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