EU envoys meet Libyan Foreign Minister as Tripoli battle rages
Tripoli, April 17 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Envoy to Libya Giuseppe Buccino and his other European Union counterparts held talks on Wednesday with the internationally recognised unity government’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala on the military escalation in the capital.
“We held the meeting to brief diplomatic missions on developments of Libyan crisis which took a very serious turn after the shelling of civilians and residential areas using Grad rockets which are banned for use in residential areas,” Siala said, as per Libyan state news agency Lana.
The death toll from overnight rocket fire on two south Tripoli districts that the unity government blamed on strongman Khalifa Haftar climbed to six on Wednesday – including three women – as diplomats sought to negotiate a ceasefire. Thirty-five people were wounded in the attacks, which were condemned by the United Nations envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame.
“Horrible night of random shelling of residential areas. For the sake of 3 million civilians living in Greater Tripoli, these attacks should stop. NOW!” Salame tweeted.
Both sides in the fighting have blamed the other for the deadly shellings.
Libya’s unity government is seeking to convene a session of the UN Human Rights Council and is gathering evidence to bring Haftar to trial by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, Siala said, as per Lana.
“We held the meeting (on Wednesday) also to see if there are any requests for security and to brief them on Foreign Ministry and Presidency Council efforts with international and regional organisations and (the UN) Security Council to issue a fair resolution that not only calls for ceasefire but for the return of the attacking forces to their positions and for civilian protection, stressing that there will be no military solution to the Libyan file,” Siala said, quoted by Lana.
At least 189 people have been killed, 816 wounded and more than 18,000 have fled their homes since Haftar ordered his militia to march on Tripoli nearly two weeks ago, according to the World Health Organization.