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UN welcomes ceasefire in Libya

(Xinhua)

09:01, March 30, 2012

UNITED NATIONS, March 29 (Xinhua) -- The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) welcomed the ceasefire on Wednesday evening in the Libyan city of Sabha, where fighting in recent days has resulted in some 50 deaths, and called on all sides to address the underlying causes of the violence, a UN spokesman said here on Thursday.

"Reports from the Sabha Medical Center indicate that the fighting over the past four days has resulted in approximately 50 killed, and 167 wounded," said UN spokesman Eduardo del Buey during a daily news briefing.

"In coordination with the Sabha Local Council, the Libyan Red Crescent, security forces, and tribal leaders, IOM (the International Organization for Migration) and UN staff in Sabhaare are responding with pre-positioned, non-food items, to help address the urgent humanitarian needs," said del Buey.

Medical kits have been deployed in order to assist the wounded, while additional supplies will be sent in the coming days. Meanwhile, the special representative of the UN secretary-general, Ian Martin, has called on both sides to resolve the situation through dialogue and peaceful means.

"He (Martin) said it is critical that the government and all sides take steps to further de-escalate the situation and address the underlying causes of this recent fighting," said del Buey.

At this time, the UNSMIL has asked all parties to facilitate evacuation of all wounded, and further ensure protection to civilians, he added.

Clashes between rival groups have been among the challenges facing Libya since the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi's government last year and the establishment of the interim authorities.

Last month, deadly clashes erupted between the Tabou and the Zwaya tribal brigades in the southern city of Kufra over a two- week period, with about 100 people reported killed and many others seriously injured.

Briefing the UN Security Council in January, Martin had reported that security remains a major concern, adding that events in different parts of the country had highlighted the risks associated with both the continued abundance of weapons on the streets, and the diverse armed "brigades" operating in the North African country with unclear lines of command and control.

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