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UN Envoy Hopeful of Holding Peace Talks in Libya

UN Envoy Hopeful of Holding Peace Talks in Libya

Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 - 18:00
United Nations envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
United Nations envoy for Libya Ghassan Salame hoped on Wednesday that peace talks could be held between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and Government of National Accord (GNA) before the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

He said on a visit to Rome that contacts had been established and he hoped to see results before Ramadan begins in early May.

“I hope that the contacts we have established or re-established among the two belligerents can bear fruit before the holy month of Ramadan,” Salame told a news conference.

He did not elaborate on the nature of the contacts with the two warring groups.

Italy, whose southern islands lie very close to the North African country’s coast, fears a mass exodus of refugees from Libya which is already a jumping-off point for boatloads of African migrants seeking to a new life in Europe.

Italian Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero, speaking alongside Salame, said he had written to the European Union asking it to be prepared to deal with a possible flight of refugees.

Khalifa Haftar’s LNA launched earlier this month an operation to liberate Tripoli from terrorist groups.

On the ground, gunmen attacked a detention center holding hundreds of migrants in Libya's capital, a rights group said.

Amnesty International said armed men raided the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention facility, some 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) south of Tripoli's city center, on Tuesday.

It said video footage of the aftermath of the attack shows three people with apparent gunshot wounds and others lying wounded on the ground with bloody bandages.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack or what motivated it.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the UN secretary-general, said Tuesday that the UN aid agency had received reports that the detention center, holding some 890 refugees and migrants, was "breached by armed actors."

"The situation in these detention centers is increasingly desperate, with reports of guards abandoning their posts and leaving people trapped inside," Dujarric said, adding that one facility has been without drinking water for days.

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