UN calls on Libyan rivals to stop military action for fight against COVID-19

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Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations and President of the Security Council for the month of September, chairs the Security Council meeting on the situation in Libya at the UN Headquarters in New York City, New York, September 4, 2019. (Photo by EuropaNewswire/Gado/Getty Images)
Libyan President Faiez Mustafa Serraj addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Tuesday called on the Libyan rival parties to stop the ongoing military action in the country to enable authorities to fight the novel coronavirus.

“(The) UNSMIL welcomes and joins the call by international partners on all parties to the Libyan conflict to declare an immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities as well as a halt to the continuing transfer of all military equipment and personnel into Libya, in order to allow local authorities to rapidly respond to the unprecedented public health challenge posed by COVID-19,” the Mission said in a statement.

“COVID-19 has no affiliation and breaks through all frontlines. We call on all Libyans to join forces immediately before it is too late to face this overwhelming, fast-spreading threat,” the statement said.

The UN mission in Libya urged the implementation of a consolidated mechanism to respond to COVID-19 in the country by collaborating closely with the World Health Organization, other UN agencies on the ground and the friends of Libya.

Also on Tuesday, Arab and Western countries issued a joint statement calling on all the rival parties in Libya to stop the ongoing military action in the country so as to face the coronavirus.

The eastern-based army has been leading a military campaign since April 2019 in and around Tripoli, attempting to take over the city and topple the UN-backed government.

The fighting killed and injured thousands of people and forced more than 150,000 civilians to flee their homes.

Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj on Saturday declared a state of emergency and mobilization against a possible coronavirus outbreak in the country.

On Monday, Libyan Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala told a press conference in the capital city of Tripoli that Libya has officially requested technical help from China against the virus

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