Meeting with Libya commander advancing on capital leaves UN chief ‘deeply concerned’ – National


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The UN secretary-general mentioned he’s “deeply involved” after assembly jap commander Khalifa Haftar in Libya on Friday to attempt to avert renewed civil conflict as his forces superior on Tripoli to problem the internationally acknowledged authorities.

The navy thrust by Haftar’s Libyan Nationwide Military (LNA), which is allied to a parallel administration based mostly within the east, has marked a harmful escalation of an influence battle that has dragged on because the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

“I depart Libya with a heavy coronary heart and deeply involved. I nonetheless hope it’s doable to keep away from a bloody confrontation in and round Tripoli,” Antonio Guterres mentioned on Twitter.

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“The UN is dedicated to facilitating a political resolution and no matter occurs, the UN is dedicated to supporting the Libyan individuals.”

Al-Arabiya TV mentioned Haftar informed Guterres that the operation would proceed till terrorism is defeated.

Tripoli is the final word prize for Haftar’s jap parallel authorities. In 2014, he assembled former Gaddafi troopers and in a three-year battle seized the primary jap metropolis of Benghazi, then this 12 months took the south with its oilfields.

Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj arrives to the checkpoint Gate 27, after retaking it from Haftar forces, within the west of Tripoli, Libya, April 5, 2019.

REUTERS/Hani Amara

The escalation stunned the United Nations. Guterres had been within the capital this week to assist set up a nationwide reconciliation convention deliberate for later this month.

However on Thursday, LNA forces took Gharyan, about 80 km (50 miles) south of Tripoli after skirmishes with forces allied to Tripoli-based, UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj.

They additional moved north coming as shut as 40 km to Tripoli by taking the village of Suq al-Khamis after some preventing, a resident and an jap navy supply mentioned.

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However they didn’t take a checkpoint about 30 km west of the capital in a bid to shut the coastal highway to Tunisia. An LNA-allied militia withdrew in a single day from so-called Gate 27, leaving it deserted within the morning, a Reuters reporter mentioned.

In one other setback, forces allied to Tripoli took 145 LNA fighters prisoner in Zawiya, west of Tripoli, a western commander, Mohamed Alhudairi, informed Reuters. An LNA supply confirmed 128 had been captured.

Sixty automobiles had additionally been seized, Alhudairi mentioned.

In the meantime, armed teams allied to the UN-backed Tripoli authorities moved extra machinegun-mounted pickups from the coastal metropolis of Misrata to Tripoli to defend it towards Haftar’s forces.

Libyans attend a protest against General Khalifa Haftar from Libyan National Army, in Tripoli, Libya, on March 8, 2019.

Libyans attend a protest towards Normal Khalifa Haftar from Libyan Nationwide Military, in Tripoli, Libya, on March eight, 2019.

REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny


Guterres, who spent Thursday evening within the closely fortified UN compound in a Tripoli suburb, flew to Benghazi and drove to Haftar’s base, witnesses mentioned.

He earlier went to Tobruk, one other jap metropolis, to fulfill Aguila Saleh, president of the Home of Representatives, which can also be allied to Haftar.

“My goal stays the identical: keep away from a navy confrontation. I reiterate that there isn’t a navy resolution for the Libyan disaster, solely a political one,” Guterres earlier mentioned on Twitter.

On Thursday, Saleh welcomed the offensive. After the assembly with Guterres, his spokesman mentioned that they had mentioned methods to finish the disaster and the deliberate convention, with out giving particulars.

The offensive is a setback for the United Nations and Western international locations which have been making an attempt to mediate between Serraj and Haftar, who met in Abu Dhabi final month to debate a power-sharing deal.

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The convention the United Nations helps to arrange is geared toward forging settlement on a highway map for elections to resolve the extended instability in Libya, an oil producer and transit level for refugees and migrants trekking throughout the Sahara with the goal of reaching Europe.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets with Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 27, 2019.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz meets with Libyan navy commander Khalifa Haftar in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on March 27, 2019.

Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Courtroom/Handout by way of REUTERS

Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which see him as a bulwark towards Islamists and have supported him militarily, in line with UN experiences.

The UAE, nevertheless, joined Western international locations in expressing its deep concern concerning the preventing.

Germany known as an emergency assembly of the UN Safety Council as a result of navy escalation.

Russia mentioned it was not serving to Haftar’s forces and it supported a negotiated political settlement that dominated out any new bloodshed.

Tunisia has tightened management on its border with Libya in response to the renewed battle, the defence ministry mentioned.

Former colonial energy Italy, which lies throughout the Mediterranean from Libya and has been a vacation spot for migrants fleeing the chaos at house, was very fearful by the flip of occasions, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini mentioned.

“We have to throw water on the hearth, not petrol on the hearth. I hope that individuals, appearing out of financial or enterprise self-interest, should not in search of a navy resolution, which might be devastating,” Salvini mentioned.

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