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UN asked to vote Wednesday in support of Libya ceasefire: diplomats

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

The UN Security Council was asked Tuesday to vote on a resolution supporting a ceasefire in Libya, in what would be the first binding text adopted since fighting flared in April last year.

The United Kingdom, which has been drafting a text for three weeks, called for the vote to take place on Wednesday, diplomatic sources said.

The position of Russia, which blocked a draft resolution last week, is unknown.

The resolution "affirms the need for a lasting ceasefire in Libya at the earliest opportunity, without pre-conditions."

It aims to end fighting between the UN-recognized government Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Since April 2019, the GNA has fought back against an offensive by fighters loyal to Haftar, who is supported by several countries including Russia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and France.

The UN has accused foreign actors of intensifying the conflict and violating an arms embargo on the war-torn country.

The draft that will be voted on no longer contains any mention of the Security Council's concerns over the involvement of "mercenaries" in Libya.

Russia blocked a draft resolution on February 5 due to inclusion of the word "mercenary" in the text.

Moscow is accused of sending several thousand mercenaries from the private Russian security company Wagner to support Haftar, who controls much of the south and east of Libya.

Russia denies involvement.

The British draft invites the African Union, Arab League and European Union to help supervise the proposed ceasefire.

It calls for the continuation of talks between representatives of Libya's warring parties.

Discussions in Geneva ended on Saturday with no deal on a ceasefire but the UN has proposed a second round of negotiations for February 18.

The text confirms commitments made by world leaders at a summit in Berlin last month to ending all foreign interference in the country and to uphold a weapons embargo.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame has said the commitments are being violated.

Oil-rich Libya has been torn by fighting between rival factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi and toppled his regime.

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