Libya Says No to Military Escorts for UN Humanitarian Missions

A truck carrying relief items from the World Food Program. A WFP convoy has started moving food aid through a new humanitarian corridor into western Libya. Photo by: Mark Garten / United Nations

The Libyan government would not allow foreign military troops to escort U.N. humanitarian convoys in the country, according to a senior Libyan official, who added that such deployment would be considered a military mission, not humanitarian.

Khaled Kaim, Libya’s deputy foreign minister, said that “if there is any deployment of any armed personnel on Libyan ground, there will be fighting, and the Libyan government will not take this as a humanitarian mission” but a military one, The Associated Press reports

Kaim’s remarks came as the European Union draws up a “concept of operations” that will govern the deployment of military forces to secure the delivery of aid supplies in Libya, as Devex reported.

>> Libya Allows UN to Send Humanitarian Aid to Tripoli, Misrata

U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague also recently announced that his country is preparing to send military advisers to Benghazi in eastern Libya to help organize the opposition groups based there, The Associated Press says.

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell, meanwhile, urged other donors to contribute more to help fund humanitarian efforts in Libya. The U.K. Department for International Development said the German government had agreed to help finance United Nations evacuation efforts in Misurata, which Britain supports with more than 2 million pounds in funding, the Telegraph reports.

A World Food Program’s convoy has started moving food aid through a new humanitarian corridor into western Libya. The aid will be provided to communities heavily ravaged by the fighting, and have not received assistance since December.

“Securing this humanitarian corridor is a first vital step in reaching thousands of hungry people affected by the conflict, in particular women, children and elderly people, whose food supplies are running alarmingly short,” WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran said in a statement.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.