UN weighs measure demanding immediate ceasefire in Libya
Britain has presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding an immediate ceasefire in Libya after forces loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli, according to the text obtained by AFP on Tuesday.
The proposed measure said the offensive by Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) "threatens the stability of Libya and prospects for a United Nations-facilitated political dialogue and a comprehensive political solution to the crisis."
The council "demands that all parties in Libya immediately de-escalate the situation, commit to a ceasefire, and engage with the United Nations to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities throughout Libya," the draft says.
Dozens of people have been killed and more than 18,000 displaced since fighting broke out on April 4.
Britain circulated the text late Monday and a first round of negotiations is to be held later Tuesday, diplomats said.
Britain hopes to bring the measure to a vote at the council before Friday, but diplomats said it remained unclear whether negotiations on the measure would wrap up that quickly.
Resolutions adopted by the council are legally binding.
The proposed measure echoed a call for a ceasefire by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was in Libya to personally advance prospects for a political solution when the offensive was launched.
Haftar, seen by his allies Egypt and the United Arab Emirates as a bulwark against Islamists, has declared he wants to seize the capital, now controlled by a UN-recognized government and an array of militias.
Haftar backs a rival administration based in eastern Libya that is refusing to recognize the authority of the Tripoli government.
The draft resolution calls on all sides in Libya "immediately to re-commit" to UN peace efforts and urges all member-states "to use their influence over the parties" to see that the resolution is respected.
Diplomats have long complained that foreign powers backing rival sides in Libya threatened to turn the conflict into a proxy war.
Saudi Arabia is also seen as a key Haftar supporter while Qatar -- which has tense ties with Riyadh and Abu Dhabi -- has called for stronger enforcement of the UN arms embargo to keep weapons out of Haftar's hands.
Russia last week blocked a draft council statement that would have called on Haftar's forces to halt their advance on Tripoli.
Russia and France, two permanent council members, have praised Haftar's battlefield successes in defeating Libyan armed groups aligned with the Islamic State in the south of the country.
Haftar's offensive on the capital forced the United Nations to postpone a national conference that was to draw up a roadmap to elections, meant to turn the page on years of chaos since the 2011 ouster of Moamer Kadhafi.
Guterres has said that serious negotiations on Libya's future cannot resume without a ceasefire.