The UN Security Council is considering a British-drafted resolution demanding a ceasefire in Libya and calling on all countries with influence over the warring parties to ensure compliance.
Diplomats from the 15-member council were due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the text that also calls for unconditional humanitarian aid access in Libya.
The latest flare-up began almost two weeks ago – during a visit by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres – when eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) advanced to the outskirts of Tripoli.
Haftar forces predicted victory within days, but Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj’s internationally-recognised government pinned them down in southern suburbs with help from armed groups from various western Libyan factions.
Guterres has called for a truce since he left Tripoli, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
“The Secretary-General would welcome a strong and united response from the Security Council on this issue,” he said.
Informally, the Security Council expressed concern on April 5, calling on all forces to de-escalate and halt military activity and specifically calling out the LNA.
In the following days the council was unable to issue a more formal statement, diplomats said, as Russia objected to an LNA reference, while the United States could not agree a text that did not mention Haftar’s forces.
The draft UN Security Council resolution expresses “grave concern at military activity in Libya near Tripoli, following the launching of a military offensive by the LNA … and threatens the stability of Libya.”
It demands all parties in Libya immediately de-escalate the situation, commit to a ceasefire and engage with the United Nations to end hostilities.
Diplomats said the draft text could be put to a vote as early as this week. A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, Russia or China – the so-called permanent five – to pass.
The draft UN text “calls on all member states to use their influence to ensure compliance with this resolution.”