Proposed UN resolution demands immediate cease-fire in Libya

FILE - This Sept. 21, 2018 file photo, shows fighters under the UN-backed government on the front lines during clashes in southern Tripoli. Libya is on the verge of an all-out war involving a rogues’ gallery of militias, many of which are little more than criminal gangs armed with heavy weapons. The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched a surprise offensive to retake Tripoli on April 5, 2019 from the transitional government supported by U.N. and Western nations led by Fayez Sarraj. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa, File)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — A proposed U.N. resolution demands that all parties in Libya immediately de-escalate the fighting and commit to a cease-fire.

The British-drafted resolution, circulated to Security Council members and obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, also calls on all parties to immediately re-commit to attending a U.N.-facilitated political dialogue "and work toward a comprehensive political solution to the crisis in Libya."

The draft resolution expresses "grave concern" at military activity near Tripoli, which began after Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter's self-styled Libyan National Army — aligned with a rival government in the east — launched its offensive April 3. The internationally supported U.N.-backed government, which is weaker, is based in Tripoli.

The draft says the offensive "threatens the stability of Libya" and prospects for the national dialogue and a political solution in Libya, and has had a "serious humanitarian impact."

The Security Council is divided over Hifter's offensive.

Hifter is supported by Russia, France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which see him as the best hope of stabilizing the troubled country and combatting extremists.

A proposed press statement soon after the offensive began that urged the Libyan National Army to halt the offensive was blocked by Russia, one of the permanent council members. Such statements require approval by all 15 council members.

Britain's proposed resolution stresses the need for the parties to engage with U.N. envoy Ghassan Salame "with the aim of achieving a Libyan-led and Libyan-owned political solution to bring security, political and economic sustainability, and national unity to Libya."

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "would welcome a strong and united response from the Security Council."

The U.N. chief was in Tripoli promoting a national conference of all Libyan parties when Hifter announced the offensive. The conference has now been postponed, and Dujarric said that since he left he has been calling for a cease-fire to deliver humanitarian aid and "for first responders to be able to do their work without getting shot at."