WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Friday, released the following statement after the confirmation of the first COVID-19 cases in Libya. In November, Senator Coons introduced the Libya Stabilization Act to clarify and strengthen U.S. policy in support of a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Libya.

“Earlier this week, Libya confirmed its first case of COVID-19, and it is only a matter of time before the virus devastates families in Libya’s war-torn capital, its refugee and migrant communities, and beyond.  We are particularly concerned by this inevitability, given the humanitarian crisis consuming Libya and Libya’s importance to regional, European, and American security,” the senators wrote.

They added, “Despite pledges by the Libyan National Army and the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord to respect a humanitarian pause, fighting continues to rage in Libya.  We condemn the ongoing violence and foreign governments’ repeated violations of the UN arms embargo.  Furthermore, we are concerned for the wellbeing of over 48,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers, many of whom will no longer receive support from international aid organizations that are halting numerous activities – including worldwide refugee resettlement – in the face of the pandemic.

“As members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and cosponsors of S. 2934, a bipartisan bill urging a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Libya, we call on the warring parties, their foreign backers, and the international community to immediately implement a nationwide ceasefire and fully respect the UN arms embargo.  Such actions are vital to promote a peaceful resolution to the conflict and attempt to contain the spread of COVID-19.” the senator concluded.