Tripoli airport hit by rocket fire as UN slams Libya arms violations

Tripoli airport hit by rocket fire as UN slams Libya arms violations

Monday, January 27, 2020

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AFP) — The Libyan capital's sole functioning airport came under renewed fire yesterday as fighting broke out hours after the UN mission in the country condemned ongoing violations of an arms embargo.

The UN mission in Libya, UNSMIL, condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the rocket strikes on Tripoli's Mitiga airport, which has been hit by repeated attacks in recent months.

UNSMIL said in a statement yesterday evening that the strikes had wounded at least two civilians as well as damaged the tarmac and a number of buildings at the airport.

World leaders met in Berlin last weekend and committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya and to upholding the 2011 UN Security Council weapons embargo as part of a broader plan to end the country's conflict.

They also agreed to a permanent ceasefire and steps to dismantle numerous militias and armed groups, while pushing a political process under the UN.

But fighting broke out on yesterday in the Abu Grein region, 130 kilometres (80 miles) west of Sirte, according to sources on both sides of the conflict.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that killed long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, with two rival administrations latterly vying for power.

The conflict deepened last year when military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya, launched an assault in April to seize Tripoli, base of the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The UN is hoping to hold inter-Libyan talks soon in Geneva to consolidate the sagging truce, as its mission in the country warns of “a renewed and intensified round of fighting”.

A military commission established at the Berlin summit — comprising five GNA loyalists and five Haftar delegates — has been tasked with defining ways of making the truce hold.

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