Libya militias agree to ceasefire at Tripoli airport
Libya's main airport in Tripoli has been severely damaged from fighting between the Zintan and Misrata militias (STR/AFP)
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Libyan fighters in the country's capital who have been clashing at the country's main airport have agreed to a ceasefire, according to an Agence France Presse report Friday.
The mayor of Libya's capital, as well as the leaders of the militias involved in the fighting, said that they had all agreed to a truce Thursday night and would be handing over the airport to neutral forces.
The commander of the Zintan forces--who are in control of the Tripoli airport--confirmed to AFP that the ceasefire was agreed upon under the authority of the city's government council. Rival fighters from the Misrata militia, who have been trying to oust Zintan from controlling the airport, also confirmed the ceasefire, but noted that the agreement only pertained to fighting at the airport, not in other strategic areas.
Misrata and Zintan represent two of many ex-rebel armed militias who helped to oust Moammar Gaddafi in 2011, but now fight among each other--and with the central government in Tripoli--to control territory and resources throughout the country.
The ceasefire decision Thursday came shortly after Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz called on the UN Security Council to assist Tripoli with combating the growing chaos to prevent Libya from turning into a failed state.
Abdelaziz specifically urged the Security Council to send UN experts to the north African country to train Libya's security forces so that Tripoli can fully protect its "vital sites," such as its oil fields and aiports, reported AFP.
"We are not asking for military intervention," said Abdelaziz. "We are asking for a team from the UN specialized in the field of security. Should Libya become a failed state, kidnapped by radical groups and warlords, the consequences would be far-reaching and perhaps beyond control."
The Security Council released a statement in response condemning the recent violence in Tripoli, saying that such an upsurge makes it "even more difficult for the Libyan authorities to govern effectively."
The council is set to ask UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon to assess "options" related to how the international body can assist Libya through its ongoing crisis.