UN calls for talks, ceasefire in Libya

Military vehicles of members of Libya’s Tripoli based government forces head out from Misrata to the front line in Tripoli, Misrata, Libya May 10, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 16 May 2019

UN calls for talks, ceasefire in Libya

UNITED NATIONS: The UN Security Council called Friday for warring Libyan parties to recommit to political talks and agree to a ceasefire as a month-long offensive on the capital showed no signs of ending.
The unanimous press statement followed a closed-door meeting called by Britain to discuss the humanitarian situation in Tripoli as world powers seek to overcome divisions about how to respond to the crisis.
Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces hold the east of the country, launched the offensive on April 4 to seize Tripoli, seat of the UN-recognized government.
The council "is deeply concerned about the instability in Tripoli and worsening humanitarian situation, which is endangering the lives of innocent civilians and threatens prospects for a political solution," said Indonesian Ambassador Dian Djani, whose country holds the council presidency.
The council "calls for all parties rapidly to return to UN political mediation, and to commit to a ceasefire and de-escalation to help mediation succeed."
Russia, the United States and Kuwait spoke out against including a call to uphold an arms embargo imposed on Libya in 2011, according to diplomats.
Germany had sought to include a mention of the ban after the United Nations raised concerns about new weaponry being supplied to both sides, in violation of the arms embargo.
UN envoy Ghassan Salame has been unsuccessful so far in trying to persuade Haftar to agree to turn away from the battlefield and return to talks with Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj.
Britain was forced last month to put on hold a draft resolution demanding a ceasefire in the face of council divisions.
Libya descended into chaos following the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi that has seen a bitter rivalry emerge between the Tripoli-based authorities and Haftar's supporters scrambling for control in the oil-rich country.


Rescue mission aids starving lions in neglected Sudan zoo

Updated 32 min 38 sec ago

Rescue mission aids starving lions in neglected Sudan zoo

KHARTOUM: Four lions in a rundown zoo in the capital of Sudan, wasting away from hunger, are undergoing lifesaving medical treatment from an international animal rescue organization.

The plight of the rail-thin lions in Al-Qurashi Park in Khartoum set off an outpouring of sympathy and donations from around the world. At least five lions, both male and female, once inhabited the zoo. One lioness died of starvation last week.

On Tuesday, veterinarians and wildlife experts from Vienna-based animal welfare group Four Paws International conducted medical checks at the park, which has fallen on hard times for lack of money and attention.

Amir Khalil, head of the Four Paws emergency mission, said he was “shocked” by the poor state of the lions, their cramped quarters and the park’s general disarray.

“I don’t understand why no one was given the task of feeding them or how authorities could just overlook this,” he said, describing two of the remaining four as in critical condition, “dehydrated ... a third of their normal weight.”

Four Paws faces a daunting task and its two-day trip has been dogged by challenges from the start. 

When the team arrived late on Monday, customs agents confiscated most of their luggage and essential medicine, citing a lack of prior approval. The group says it’s operating with just a fraction of its equipment, and scrambling to find local alternatives.

Although the group typically carries out rescue missions, it has no immediate plan to transport the animals in Al-Qurashi to better conditions abroad.