from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – WHILE it is creating panic across the world, in Libya, the coronavirus (COVID-19) disease has brought unity among the country’s warring forces.
The internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the rival Libyan National Army (LNA) have responded positively to calls to end the war and allow national authorities and health partners to respond to the potential threat of COVID-19 in the country.
The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) welcomed the pledges by the rivals that have been engaged in renewed conflict since April last year.
UNSMIL thus called on all parties to join forces, work together and direct their powers and resources to support Libyans and local authorities to improve their preparedness to battle COVID-19 and prevent catastrophic consequences.
“This includes allowing unhindered access to the provisions of humanitarian assistance, goods and food items, and to allow World Health Organisation and health sector partners to work unimpeded in all parts of the North African country,” UNSMIL stated.
UNSMIL is hopeful the humanitarian pause would eventually lead to the approval by both Libyan parties’ leadership of the UN-facilitated draft ceasefire agreement reached in Geneva in February.
The United States also welcomed the decision of Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Mustafa al-Sarraj to endorse immediate humanitarian cessation of hostilities to allow local authorities to respond to the unprecedented public health challenge posed by COVID-19.
“Libyan leaders must urgently prioritize the health of the Libyan people. It is the only responsible thing to do,” Morgan Ortagus, US Department of State spokesperson, said.
Libya has suffered instability since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and murdered in 2011.
It has not reported any cases of COVID-19 but the presence of foreign mercenaries and its being a gateway to Europe for migrants puts it at risk.
– CAJ News