EU calls for humanitarian truce in Libya as conflict escalates

Foreign ministers from Germany, France and Italy and the EU’s top diplomat called on Saturday for a humanitarian truce in Libya, saying all parties must resume peace talks.

“We want to join our voices with those of the United Nations secretary general (Antonio) Guterres and his acting special representative for Libya, Stephanie Turco Williams, in their call for a humanitarian truce in Libya,” the statement said.

“We call on all Libyan actors to draw inspiration from the spirit of Saint Ramadan, to resume talks for a real cease-fire,” said the statement signed by Josep Borrell of the EU, Jean-Yves Le Drian, from France, Luigi di from Italy. Maio and Heiko Maas from Germany.

The conflict in Libya has intensified this month, with fierce fighting on several fronts in the west of the country despite urgent calls from the UN and aid agencies for a truce to cope with the crisis of coronavirus.

World leaders gathered in Berlin in January to lay the groundwork for what they hoped would be another chance for a peace process. But the new wave of fighting has been fueled by weapons imported from abroad, said Williams.

The European Union has launched a new naval and air mission in the eastern Mediterranean to prevent more weapons from reaching the warring factions in Libya, but cannot patrol the land border between Egypt and Libya, through which artillery is still delivered.

The EU fears that the conflict could worsen regional instability and inflate the flow of migrants from the Middle East and Africa almost a decade after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.