Libya: UN chief urges all sides to restore calm in aftermath of deadly attack on southern airbase

Secretary-General António Guterres. UN Photo/Mark Garten (file)

20 May 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is deeply concerned about the military escalation at the Brak al-Shati air base in southern Libya and calls on all parties to exercise restraint and restore calm, the UN chief's spokesman said today.

“[The Secretary-General] is particularly disturbed by the high number of fatalities as well as reports of summary executions of civilians, which, if confirmed, may constitute war crimes,” said a statement from Stéphane Dujarric, which added that the continued insecurity in Libya is a reminder that there is no military solution.

News reports suggest that perhaps more than 100 people have died as a result of Thursday's attack on the airbase, mostly soldiers but also civilians. This is the latest flare-up of violence in the North African nation since the civilian uprising in 2011 led to the ouster of long-time Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The UN Spokesman said Mr. Guterres urges all key Libyan stakeholders to re-commit to the political dialogue and engage constructively towards that goal.

“The Secretary-General appreciates the efforts of a number of regional and neighbouring countries for their contributions aimed at strengthening the dialogue between key stakeholders in support of the overall UN-led process,” the statement concluded.

In the aftermath of the attack Martin Kobler, the top UN official in Libya and the Head of the UN Support Mission known as UNSMIL, strongly condemned the deadly incident as a “vicious attack [that] undermines political efforts.”

“I am outraged by reports of significant numbers of fatalities, including civilians and by reports that summary executions may have taken place. Summary executions and targeting civilians constitute a war crime, which may be prosecuted by the International Criminal court (ICC),” Mr. Kobler said.

The Special Representative stressed that this vicious attack must not lead to further, serious conflict. There is no military solution to Libya's problems. “I call upon all parties to condemn this attack and not to allow it to undermine intense efforts to find peaceful political solutions." he added.


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