U.N. frets over danger from Libyan militias

Dec. 10, 2013 at 10:50 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- U.N. special envoy to Libya Tarik Mitri said Libyan leaders need to find a way to encourage the armed militias to disarm and rejoin civil society.

"It is essential for all parties to engage in dialogue and create the right balance of incentives in order to stimulate a comprehensive process of reintegration and eventual disarmament," he told members of the U.N. Security Council during a Monday session.

The envoy said Libya's national security was threatened by fighting with militias in Tripoli and the restive city of Benghazi last month. He said it was the central government in Libya that should have a monopoly over the use of force in the country.

Human Rights Watch published a report Monday echoing the envoy's concerns. The rights organization said it was concerned that armed militias in Libya are operating in the country with "de-facto immunity."

Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told British Foreign Secretary William Hague last month his country has made strides to rein in militias since civil war ended in 2011.

Mitri said, however, there was a general sense of frustration with progress made on the national security front since opposition forces toppled the regime of Moammar Gadhafi two years ago.

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