Libya has become a testing ground for “new military technologies and recycling of old weapons”, says Ghassan Salamé, Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).
Salamé, who is also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Libya, stated this while briefing members of the Security Council in New York on Monday.
“Armed drones, armoured vehicles, pickup trucks fitted with heavy armaments, machine guns, mortars and rocket launchers have been recently transferred to Libya with the complicity and indeed outright support of foreign governments.
“There is no doubt that external support has been instrumental in the intensification of air strikes.
“I also note with concern that the imported weaponry is being accompanied by foreign personnel working as pilots, trainers and technicians.
“This reliance on external support is a conflict driver,” the UNSMIL head said.
Fighting has been raging since Khalifa Haftar, a military commander based in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to take control of Tripoli from the UN-supported unity government on April 3.
Salamé said the armed conflict around Tripoli was showing no sign of abating, and had left nearly 1,100 people dead, including 106 civilians.
He said hundreds of thousands of people had been forced to flee their homes in the capital and neighbouring districts
Tens of thousands were crossing the border into Tunisia seeking safety for their facilities, according to him.
The envoy added that no fewer than 100,000 men, women and children were immediately exposed to the frontlines, 400,000 more in areas directed affected by clashes.
“More than ever, Libyans are now fighting the wars of other countries who are being content to fight to the last to see the country is entirely destroyed in order to settle their own scores,” Salamé noted.
The special envoy called for the cooperation of members of the Security Council on implementation of the Libya arms embargo as contained in Resolution 2473.
He warned that the flow of weapons to Libya would continue to fuel “this needless conflicts”, except the resolution was enforced to the letter. (NAN)
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