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UN Adopts Cease-Fire Resolution For Libya As Russia Abstains

The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution calling for a “lasting cease-fire” in war-torn Libya, as Russia abstained from the vote following its objections to the language of the text.

The text -- which was drafted by Britain -- was approved on February 12 by the other 14 members of the Security Council following weeks of debate and wrangling.

The resolution restated "the need for a lasting cease-fire in Libya at the earliest opportunity, without preconditions" and expressed "concern over the growing involvement of mercenaries in Libya."

Russia had pushed to replace the word "mercenaries" with "foreign terrorist fighters."

Moscow, which backs eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar, has been accused by UN experts and diplomats of aiding Russian military contractors fighting alongside Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA), which has also received air support from the United Arab Emirates and backing from Jordan and Egypt.

Russia officially denies involvement in the civil war in Libya, which has been torn by violence since longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

Russia’s support for Haftar pits it against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the capital Tripoli. The GNA also has the support of Turkey, which has said it is deploying its own soldiers to the country.

Haftar’s LNA, based in the east of the country, has conducted a months-long drive to capture the capital from the GNA.

An interim truce brokered by the UN came into force on January 12 and has led to a lull in heavy fighting and air strikes, although the situation remains tense.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP