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European Nations Invoke Ramadan, Call for Libya Truce, Talks

Top European diplomats this weekend issued a joint call for antagonists in Libya to stop fighting and start talking. “We want to unite our voices to those of the UN Secretary-General [Antonio] Guterres and his acting special representative for Libya, Stephanie Turco Williams, in their call for a humanitarian truce in Libya,” the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Italian and German counterparts, Luigi di Maio and Heiko Maas, said in a statement. “We call on all the Libyan actors to get inspired by the spirit of the Holy Ramadan, engage in resuming talks for a genuine ceasefire.” Guterres and Pope Francis have urged the parties to all the world’s conflicts to call a truce and instead fight the coronavirus pandemic; the European entreaty aimed at Libya was the first major call invoking the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, which began on Friday. The self-styled Libyan National Army, which is loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar, has been besieging parts of the capital Tripoli, base of the Government of National Accord (GNA). In the upheaval following the overthrow of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Haftar retreated to the eastern city of Benghazi and believes the GNA was improperly entrusted with running the country as part of a peace initiative backed by the United Nations.