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UN Security Council fails to condemn Libya airstrike

The damage at a Libyan migrant centre in the capital Tripoli following an air strike on a nearby building, 3 July 2019.
The damage at a Libyan migrant centre in the capital Tripoli following an air strike on a nearby building, 3 July 2019. MAHMUD TURKIA / AFP

The UN Security Council has failed to condemn an attack on a migrant detention centre in Libya – despite the UN’s own envoy to Libya saying the raid could amount to a war crime.

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A statement by Britain condemning the airstrike, which killed at least 44 people early Wednesday, was not endorsed after US diplomats told the closed-door meeting they could not approve the text without first getting permission from Washington.

The British statement also called for a ceasefire and a return to political talks.

The strike on the Tajoura detention centre, just outside of Tripoli, left more than 130 people badly wounded. It’s been blamed on forces loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar – who has been battling to take the capital Tripoli from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres expressed outrage and called for an independent investigation. The U.S. State Department condemned the attack as “abhorrent” but did not call for a ceasefire.

The emergency UN meeting was called by Peru, which holds the rotating presidency.

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