Antonio Guterres called for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and return to political dialogue by all the warring parties.
Guterres warned in a statement from his deputy spokesman that “any foreign support to the warring parties will only deepen the ongoing conflict and further complicate efforts to reach a peaceful and comprehensive political solution.”
His comments followed Thursday’s authorization by Turkey’s parliament to deploy troops to Libya to support the U.N. -backed government in Tripoli that is battling forces loyal to a rival government seeking to capture the capital.
The Turkish parliament’s decision to deploy troops was condemned by neighbouring Egypt, which backs Haftar, in what its foreign ministry called “the strongest language.”
Ankara says the deployment is vital for Turkey to safeguard its interests in Libya and in the eastern Mediterranean, where it finds itself increasingly isolated as Greece, Cyprus, Egypt and Israel have established exclusive economic zones paving the way for oil and gas exploration.
Throes in Libya
Thousands have been killed in fighting between factions of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) commanded by Khalifa Haftar, based in the east, and the internationally-recognized government, based in Tripoli. LNA forces have laid siege to the southern outskirts of the capital for more than six months.
The fighting has threatened to plunge Libya into violent chaos rivaling since the fall of President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Despite the country’s abundance oil reserves the instability has caused the economic collapse.
In the chaos that followed, the country was divided, with a weak UN-supported administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a rival government in the east aligned with the Libyan National Army led by Gen Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar launched a surprise military offensive April 4 aimed at capturing Tripoli despite commitments to attend a national conference which later aimed at forming a united government and moving toward elections.
Last month, UN experts lamented that the interference of Chadian and Sudanese fighters in Libya is “a direct threat” to the security and stability of the war-torn country. They also noted that a leader of the Islamic State extremist group has declared Libya “one of the main axes” of its future operations.
The panel of experts said in a report to the U.N. Security Council that “Jordan, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates routinely and sometimes blatantly supplied weapons, with little effort to disguise the source” in violation of the U.N. arms embargo.
They identified multiple cases of non-compliance with the arms embargo, the majority of transfers to Haftar’s LNA from Jordan or the United Arab Emirates and the majority for the Tripoli government of Turkey.
SUSA Crisis Watch reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world.