The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) denied Monday that its envoy Ghassan Salame accused a Libyan party of using armed and terrorist groups coming from Idlib, Syria, in Tripoli’s war.
“Salame confirmed from various platforms and in closed and public meetings of the UN Security Council that there are real fears on the possibility of Libya to become an arena for extremist elements and groups,” the UNSMIL said.
This came a few days after al-Marsad newspaper claimed that Libya’s U.N. Ambassador Elmahdi Elmajerbi sent a “secret message” to the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA)’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Taher Siala about a briefing of Salame to the U.N. Security Council on May 24.
Elmajerbi told the newspaper that the UNSMIL envoy provided information on the situation in Libya in a closed meeting with the Security Council contrary to what was delivered during the opening session.
Al-Marsad said Salame told the members of the Security Council in the closed meeting that a Libyan party in the conflict used terrorist groups from Idlib in the fighting as per the information the envoy received from intelligence elements.
On the other hand, Salame said during his briefing at the UN Security Council on the situation in Libya that the ongoing fighting in Tripoli is leading the country “into a civil war which could lead to the permanent division of the country.”
He added the damage done to Libya will already take “years to mend,” but unless fighting around the capital Tripoli stops, the country risks “descending into a civil war which could lead to the permanent division of the country”.
“There is no military solution” Salamé said, “and it is high time for those who have harboured this illusion to open their eyes and adjust themselves to this reality. Libya’s mosaic of communities cannot be governed without alliances and relationships stretching across the whole country”. He said Libyans would need to adjust in light of the attempts to take Tripoli by force since 4 April.
The Libyan National Army has repeatedly accused the GNA of recruiting militias and terrorists in its battle against the army, which headed towards Tripoli April 4, claiming its campaign against the capital is meant to rid it of such armed groups.