Published: Sun, April 07, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Halt advance on Libya's capital, G7 urges Haftar

Halt advance on Libya's capital, G7 urges Haftar

Khalifa Haftar's order to the self-styled Libyan National Army came as United Nations chief Antonio Guterres was in Tripoli.

At a G7 meeting in France, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he and his counterparts had agreed they must exert pressure on those responsible for the intensification of fighting in Libya, especially Haftar.

The U.N. Security Council on Friday also called on Haftar to halt his advance on Tripoli, warning the military move was putting Libya's stability at risk.

Meanwhile the "west military zone" of the national unity government of premier Fayez al-Sarraj said it was able to "reject an attack carried out by groups belonging to Haftar in the areas of Abu Shiba and Al Hira", west of Garian, Alwasat reports.

Almost 150 of his soldiers and dozens of vehicles were captured by pro-government forces on Friday as they tried to join the offensive towards Tripoli.

Al-Qunidi also revealed that Haftar has offered money and services to officers from Tripoli, promising them they will be granted senior positions after he occupies the city.

Libyan authorities earlier declared a state of emergency following the announcement of the Libyan National Army that its forces have started advancing towards Tripoli.

Anti-Haftar activists on social media posted pictures of what they described as militiamen from Zawiya capturing dozens of Hifter's forces and armored vehicles carrying stickers reading "106th Battalion".

A renegade militia seeking to storm its way into Libya's capital battled for control of the worldwide airport Saturday in a showdown that threatened to spill into bloody urban combat in the streets of Tripoli.

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Africa Command, known as Africom, said that due to "increased unrest in Libya, a contingent of US forces supporting US Africa Command temporarily relocated in response to security conditions on the ground".

Since Gadhafi's ouster, Libya has been split between rival governments in the east and the west and an array of militias fighting over power and oil fields. Cairo has been one of Haftar's strongest supporters.

After meeting Friday with Hifter in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi, Guterres said in a tweet that he was leaving Libya "with a heavy heart and deeply concerned".

The renewed fighting came a day after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres arrived for his first visit to Libya as UN chief. "I still hope it is possible to avoid a bloody confrontation in and around Tripoli", he said on Twitter.

Pro-Haftar fighters have been slowed in their advance by forces loyal to Sarraj's Government of National Accord (GNA), which is based in the capital.

Ghassan Salame said that the United Nations is committed to reaching a political settlement, stressing that conflicting parties resorting to violence would not be accepted.

Libyan militia commander General Khalifa Hifter meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia.

The UN-backed government in Tripoli called their presence a "violation" of Libya's sovereignty.

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