1st LD Writethru: Security Council renews UN support mission in Libya

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UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 12 (Xinhua) -- The UN Security Council on Thursday renewed the mandate of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) for another 12 months.

By adopting Resolution 2486, the council extended the integrated special political mission's mandate until Sept. 15, 2020.

The resolution mandates the UNSMIL to support an inclusive political process and security and economic dialogue and "a possible ceasefire" in the country.

It requested the UN secretary-general to assess the steps required to reach a lasting ceasefire, the possible role of UNSMIL in providing "scalable ceasefire support" to advance the political process.

It also recalled the arms embargo on Libya issued in previous resolutions, "calling on all member states not to intervene in the conflict or take measures that exacerbate the conflict."

Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.

The instability resulted in a divided country, with the UN-recognized administration -- Government of National Accord (GNA) -- overseeing the west and a rival government in the east. Each is backed by an array of militias and armed groups fighting over resources and territory.

UNSMIL was established in September 2011 by the Security Council at the request of the Libyan authorities to support the country's new transitional authorities in their post-conflict efforts. The mission's mandate has since been renewed annually.

Since early April, the GNA has been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against an eastern-based army -- self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar, which is trying to take over the capital Tripoli and overthrow the GNA.

The conflict is fueled by support from abroad, including military support channeled to both the GNA and the LNA in violation of the UN arms embargo, media reports have said.

In his latest report on UNSMIL, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his "serious concern" over the possibility of the conflict escalating "into full civil war."

In his Sept. 4 briefing to the Security Council, Ghassan Salame, the special representative of Guterres for Libya, encouraged the council "to consider adding a provision to the mission's mandate to enable scalable ceasefire support for whatever form of further truce or cessation of hostilities is agreed between the parties."

Since early July, the council members have issued three press statements endorsing a ceasefire in Libya. Enditem

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