U.N. council endorses 55-point road map to end war in Libya

The vote on the British-drafted resolution was 14-0, with Russia abstaining even though Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the 12 leaders who agreed to the plan at a conference in Berlin on Jan. 19

The U.N. Security Council endorsed a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya on February 12 and condemned the recent increase in violence in the oil-rich North African country.

The vote on the British-drafted resolution was 14-0, with Russia abstaining even though Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the 12 leaders who agreed to the plan at a conference in Berlin on Jan. 19.

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said he abstained because the government has “serious doubts” about whether the resolution can be implemented and end the war between rival governments “in the way we’d like to see it”.

“Events will show us who was right,” he said. “And if the resolution will have a positive impact in resolving the conflict I will be the first to acknowledge I was wrong.”

British Ambassador Karen Pierce countered that “the resolution is viable,” saying all it does “is give concrete expression to the commitments that leaders adopted at Berlin — and that included adoption by President Putin.”

“We all want to see it implemented,” she said.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.

A weak U.N.-recognised administration that holds the capital of Tripoli and parts of the country’s west is backed by Turkey, which recently sent thousands of soldiers to Libya, and to a lesser degree Qatar and Italy.

On the other side is a rival government in the east that supports self-styled Gen. Khalifa Hifter, whose forces launched an offensive to capture the capital last April and are backed by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt as well as France and Russia.

The Tripoli authorities and U.S. officials have accused Hifter of relying on hundreds of Russian mercenaries. Sudanese armed groups from the Darfur region recently joined the fighting on both sides, according to a report by U.N. experts.

The resolution demands that all countries refrain from interfering in Libya’s conflict and its internal affairs and observe a U.N. arms embargo, “including by ceasing all support for and withdrawing all armed mercenary personnel”. Russia sought unsuccessfully to change references to growing involvement of mercenaries to “foreign terrorist fighters”.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said last week that the agreement has been repeatedly violated by continuing arms deliveries to the warring parties and escalating fighting. He called the current offensives by rival forces “a scandal,” saying the commitments “apparently were made without a true intention of respecting them”.

The resolution welcomes last week’s cease-fire talks between Libya’s warring sides in Geneva and calls for their continuation “without further delay in order to agree a permanent cease-fire.” It asks Mr. Guterres to submit his views on conditions for a cease-fire and proposals for effective monitoring of a truce, with a view to making detailed recommendations when a cease-fire is announced.

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