By UN News
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Sunday reiterated his call on the Libyan Government to stop all hostilities against its own civilians and comply fully with last week’s Security Council resolution, saying any fresh declaration of a ceasefire by the country’s authorities must be tested.
Libyan authorities in the capital, Tripoli, reportedly declared a ceasefire tonight in their battle with opposition forces who have led a popular uprising against the long-standing regime of Muammar al-Qadhafi.
Speaking to journalists in neighbouring Egypt, Mr. Ban noted that this is at least the third time in 48 hours that senior Libyan officials have either declared a ceasefire or pledged to fully abide with last Thursday’s Council resolution.
“Now they have been continuing to attack the civilian population,” Mr. Ban said in response to questions, adding that their ceasefire claims must be verified and tested.
He stressed that the United Nations would “continue working urgently to bring an end to the fighting, find a political solution and provide humanitarian relief.”
Resolution 1973 authorizes UN Member States to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians and the militaries of several countries have launched air raids against Libyan targets in the past 48 hours.
Mr. Ban noted the “very decisive action” of some Member States to implement the resolution and try to protect Libyan civilians from further attacks. He also commended the Arab League for its recommendation of a no-fly zone above Libya, which was included in the Council resolution.
“Let me say: we are at a historic moment. Democracy is on the march across the Arab world.”
Popular protests across North Africa and the Middle East since the start of the year have already toppled long-standing regimes in Tunisia and Egypt. Pro-government forces have engaged in deadly clashes with unarmed demonstrators in several countries, but the fighting has been fiercest in Libya, and UN officials have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis as thousands of people attempt to flee the violence.