CAIRO (Sputnik) – The Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) has accused the Libyan National Army (LNA) of violating a ceasefire deal during the coronavirus pandemic, adding that the GNA was ready to cease hostilities in Libya in response to calls by the United Nations and members of the European Union.
GNA’s Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj has told Sputnik that recent actions by his rivals were jeopardising the lives and security of the country’s citizens.
“Unfortunately, the aggressor [LNA] continues to violate the truce, attacking residential areas in the capital of Tripoli every day resulting in civilian casualties, including children and women, he stated, adding that the rival party had underestimated decisions taken by the international community.
Sarraj said that the GNA gives priority to the interests of Libyans, as “it is our national duty”.
“I think that the international community is well informed of our position on this aspect. The Government of National Accord has responded to all calls to cease hostilities, the last of which was issued by ambassadors and representatives of the eleven countries’ governments, as well as by the United Nations and the European Union. It was on 18 March, [and it would] allow local authorities to combat the coronavirus epidemic”, Sarraj said, when asked whether the western-based Libyan government was ready to reduce tensions in the country.
He also stressed that participants of the Berlin conference on Libya, held in January, are not adhering to the decisions made during the event and “continue to play a negative role” in the crisis.
“[Former UN Special Representative on Libya] Ghassan [Salame’s] efforts were concentrated on achieving a consensus between foreign countries, which had an impact in Libya, participated in the Berlin conference and approved its results. Unfortunately, they did not respect these decisions and continued to play a negative role in the Libyan crisis”, Sarraj said.
Sarraj also expressed his gratitude to Salame, who resigned on 2 March due to health problems, for his efforts to resolve the Libyan conflict.
“The resignation was a surprise, it happened under the pretext of health problems. We thank him and wish him well”, Sarraj said.
As of Monday, Libya’s National Centre for Disease Control has registered 18 coronavirus cases and one coronavirus-related death in the country.
In March, the embassies of seven nations, the EU mission to Libya, and the Tunisian government, called on the warring parties in Libya to immediately halt hostilities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarraj has expressed support for the international call to cease hostilities in the war-torn Arab republic.
In January, an international conference on Libya took place in the German capital of Berlin, with Russia, the United States, the EU, Turkey, and Egypt among its participants. The sides agreed to a ceasefire and for third parties to not be involved in the conflict.