In Summary
  • United States blocked the UN Security Council from adopting a unanimous statement condemning an airstrike on a detention centre that killed dozens of migrants.
  • The US representatives at the UN gave no explanation for the Trump administration's decision not to condemn the outrage.
  • After Haftar began to wage war on the country's west, US President Donald Trump called him to praise his "significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya's oil resources" and "shared vision".

Dubai,

Washington's refusal to condemn an airstrike on a detention centre that killed dozens of migrants blamed on Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar by his rivals shows tacit US support, experts say.

The decision could prove damaging for the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) led by Fayez al-Sarraj -- as well as for the UN's influence and human rights in war-torn Libya.

Washington's move "should not come as a surprise", said James Dorsey, a researcher at Singapore's S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. "It is a sign of US policy changing towards Libya."

Following more than two hours of deliberations on Wednesday, the United States blocked the UN Security Council from adopting a unanimous statement condemning the incident.

Bodies were strewn on the floor of a hangar in Tripoli's Tajoura suburb, mixed with the blood-soaked clothes of migrants following the strike condemned by UN chief Antonio Guterres as "horrendous". At least 44 people were killed and more than 100 injured.

TURN A BLIND EYE

The US representatives at the UN gave no explanation for the Trump administration's decision not to condemn the outrage.

The British-drafted text did not lay the blame with either side of the bitter conflict that has pitted Haftar's eastern power-base against forces aligned with the UN-recognised government in Tripoli.

Instead it called for a ceasefire and a resumption of talks.

But Washington refused to give the final go-ahead for the text to be adopted, according to a European diplomatic source.

"This latest US stand is perfectly consistent with the policies of the past few years which have turned a blind eye to egregious human rights violations when committed by US allies," said Karim Bitar, a senior fellow at the Paris-based IRIS think-tank.

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