Libyan PM summons UN envoy over remarks before UN Security Council

Libya’s UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez Serraj on Wednesday summoned the UN Special Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame to protest against the inaccuracies in his briefing to the UN Security Council on Libya’s situation, the PM’s information office said.

Since early April, the government has been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against the east-based army, which is trying to take over the capital Tripoli and overthrow the government.

During a recent UN Security Council session, Salame called on Libyan parties to “cease using the airport (Metiga international airport) for military purposes and for the attacking forces to halt immediately their targeting of it.”

Libyan Ministry of Transport denied Tuesday Salame’s remarks, confirming that the airport is being used only for civilian purposes.

Also, the UN official said that “some extremist elements have sought to legitimize themselves by joining the battle,” urging the Libyan parties to “decisively disassociate themselves from any violent extremist elements and to actively prevent them from joining the conflict.”

Earlier today, Serraj’s government forces requested the UN envoy to provide a list of names of the extremist elements he mentioned, or else they would “consider the UN envoy’s remarks an attempt to distort the Libyan army, the Government of National Accord, and the Libyan people, and would legally pursue him (over the remarks).”

The fighting so far has killed more than a thousand people, injured more than 5,700 others, and forced more than 120,000 people to flee their homes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The army is allied with the eastern-based government, as the north African nation is politically divided between eastern and western governments.

Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.