Libyan militia chief Khalifa Haftar tells troops to 'advance' on the capital Tripoli

Thursday - 04/04/2019 15:41
Libyan militia chief Khalifa Haftar tells troops to 'advance' on the capital Tripoli
Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar on Thursday ordered his troops to "advance" on Tripoli, prompting Western nations and the UAE to warn against aggravating tensions in the conflict-torn country.

The United States and its allies called Thursday for an immediate de-escalation of tensions in Libya and warned any military action would have consequences after strongman Khalifa Haftar ordered forces to advance on Tripoli.

"Our governments oppose any military action in Libya and will hold accountable any Libyan faction that precipitates further civil conflict," said a joint statement by the United States, France, Britain, Italy and the United Arab Emirates.

The governments said they were "deeply concerned" by fighting near Gharyan, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) from Tripoli, and "urge all parties to immediately de-escalate tensions."

"At this sensitive moment in Libya's transition, military posturing and threats of unilateral action only risk propelling Libya back toward chaos," they said.

"We strongly believe that there is no military solution to the Libya conflict."

Haftar's self-styled Libyan Nation Army has amassed around Gharyan and, in an audio message, he said the time had come to advance toward the capital.

Dozens of militias have fought for control of the North African country since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Mohamar Kadhafi in 2011.

Haftar's forces have emerged as a key player, opposing the government in Tripoli and backing a parallel administration in the east.

(AFP)

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