International quartet backs Libya’s unity government

International quartet backs Libya’s unity government

CAIRO
International quartet backs Libya’s unity government

A quartet of international groups said March 18 it supported efforts by Libya’s unity government to assert control over Tripoli after days of fighting with rival militias.

The Cairo meeting by representatives of the United Nations, European Union, Arab League and African Union came a day after gunmen opened fire at demonstrators protesting against militias in Libya’s capital.

Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit said the quartet had followed the “dangerous developments in Tripoli.” 

“We agreed on supporting the [U.N.-backed] presidential council in its efforts to exert security control in the capital, including the implementation of the truce agreement,” AFP quoted Abul Gheit as saying.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, U.N. envoy Martin Kobler and African Union Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat also attended the meeting.

The March 17 protests followed four days of clashes between pro-unity government forces and rival militias.

Kobler said it would not be time to lift an arms embargo on Libya until its armed forces had a clear chain of command.

“If you have an army with a clear chain of command, reporting to the supreme command of the army and the presidency council, they are entitled to exemptions from the weapons embargo,” he said.

The fighting in Tripoli lasted four days and subsided only after the GNA signed a cease-fire agreement with militias from Tripoli and third city Misrata, along with local mayors.

The truce announced March 16 has largely held despite brief clashes the same day in the south of the city.