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Libyan Truce Would Aid War on Coronavirus, Say Western, Arab Nations

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Western and Arab countries in a statement on Tuesday urged Libya’s warring factions to stop fighting to allow the country’s authorities to respond to the threat posed by the Coronavirus.

Although Libya has yet to record any confirmed cases, the World Health Organisation representative in Tripoli has warned of the great risks faced if the virus spreads in a country fragmented by conflict.

Since April last year, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has been battling militias allied with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). These militias have been the main source of chaos and instability in the capital since the overthrow of late dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, both the Tripoli and Benghazi administrations have pledged money to local health services and closed ports and airports.

A joint statement on Tuesday from Algeria, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the United States, the European Union, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates said a truce would help efforts to tackle the virus.

“We strongly support the efforts of Libyan health authorities across the country as they come together in a spirit of national cohesion and urge them to take all necessary measures to support the health and well-being of all Libyans,” the statement said.

“A truce would also enable combatants to return home to provide care for relatives who may be at higher risk,” it added.

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