Last updated on February 15th, 2020
Long envisioned for Libya, a stable ceasefire became a bit more reachable to achieve peace in the nation being smashed by a proxy battle for several years. After weeks of debates, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution drafted by Britain on Wednesday, demanding a “lasting cease-fire” in the oil-rich North African country.
While Russia was an abstention, the UK-backed resolution received a green signal after 14 votes. It called for a lasting truce without any pre-conditions and a prompt need for the foreign parties to end the arms supply — military commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, and the Prime Minister of UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj.
The UK-backed resolution also mentioned the “concern over the growing involvement of mercenaries in Libya”. However, a major supporter of Haftar, Russia opposed and pressed for a replacement of the word “mercenaries” with “foreign terrorist fighters”.
A fragile ceasefire was developed on January 12, which would likely be succeeded by a permanent accord. On January 19, the international divisions of the Libya civil war vowed to work for a lasting truce at a summit in Berlin, where they agreed to end all the military support and backed a weapons embargo.
Despite that, the arms continued to flow in Libya and the violations also remained, leaving the plans of a ceasefire under a risk. Recently, Russia was accused of sending thousands of mercenaries to support Haftar. The mercenaries were reportedly sent from the private Russian security company Wagner. However, Moscow denied all the accusations.
Although the US voted to pass the resolution, it previously demanded a clear mention of the Wagner group during the negotiations of the resolution. Following the vote, the deputy US ambassador to the UN Cherith Norman Chalet complained that the Council was not united.
Norman Chalet said it was unfortunate that the international mercenaries like from Russia’s Wagner group, were “making an inclusive political solution harder to achieve”.
On the other hand, Russia abstained from voting because the country was unsure about the enforcement of the resolution, while the parties didn’t agree to the terms of the ceasefire, explained Vasily Nebenzia, Russia’s UN ambassador.
As the resolution stated, the negotiations were expected to continue by the joint military commission set up in January. The Geneva meeting of the commission ended without a resolution on February 8, but the UN proposed to resume talks as of February 18.
Although the UN is ensuring all the measures — a monitoring system, a separation of forces and confidence-building measures — to achieve a lasting ceasefire, the doubts on achievement of the goal a much higher. The conflict, which has taken lives of more than a thousand people and displaced several more, makes it difficult to envision a peaceful solution with involvement of some conflicting foreign powers.