Tunisia calls for UN peacekeeping force in Libya ceasefire

Tunisia assumed the presidency of the 68th session of the UN Security Council yesterday and immediately pushed to send a peacekeeping force to maintain the ceasefire in Libya.

Tarek Ladeb, Tunisian ambassador to the UN, told the council yesterday a peacekeeping force was necessary because negotiations between Libyan parties and the UN mission had "momentum, yet it's a little bit fragile".

Ladeb added that he hopes to continue with the "positive" work produced at the first Libyan Political Dialogue Forum by establishing a peacekeeping force to maintain the ceasefire.

"Nominating a new [UN] special envoy for Libya is crucial now to sustain the political momentum and give a push to the political process and the settlement of the crisis," Ladeb said, adding, "Libya is [Tunisia's] neighbour. We have a steadfast and principled position toward this crisis."

Tunisia will hold the presidency of the UN Security Council until February, when the UK will take over.

READ: Tunisia president to launch dialogue to 'correct the revolution' process

A statement from Tunisia said in the month of January that the country would "work to defend the unified positions taken on various issues related to the Arab and African spaces, foremost of which are the Palestinian issue and the situation in Libya," the North Africa Post reported.

The North African state, which is a non-permanent member of the Security Council, has a meeting on Libya scheduled at the end of the month.

Late last year, Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres proposed a similar plan of using international monitors to bring a lasting end to hostilities, after warring factions agreed a ceasefire on 23 October.

Guterres proposed using international forces, including civilians and retired soldiers from the European Union (EU), Arab League, and African Union (AU), to monitor the departure of foreign mercenaries.

Is Egypt's decision to send its army to Libya 'a declaration of war'? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

An estimated 20,000 foreign troops and mercenaries who fought in the war remained in Libya in December, according to UN envoy Stephanie Williams.

Under the ceasefire, all foreign mercenaries fighting in Libya must leave the country within three months, by the 23 January.

Guterres has also requested UN members observe the bloc-wide arms embargo on Libya, which has frequently been violated.

READ: Tunisia detains 2 Egyptian fishing boats in its territorial waters

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