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U.N. chief 'deeply concerned' about fighting in Libya

By Nicholas Sakelaris
U.N. chief 'deeply concerned' about fighting in Libya
A view of Tripoli, Libya, after a rocket was fired by militants into the city on September 1, 2018. Government and insurgent forces have been fighting in the country since 2014. File Photo by EPA-EFE

April 4 (UPI) -- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed alarm Thursday at the conditions in Libya during a visit to the battle-scarred country.

The U.N. chief arrived in Tripoli Wednesday to survey the ongoing fight between the Libyan government and a rebellion led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar. Guterres said the signs he saw were not good.

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Government forces have clashed with insurgent fighters south of the capital and elsewhere, heightening the risk of a bloodier conflict. It's part of a conflict that's been going since 2014.

"I am deeply concerned by the military movement taking place in Libya and the risk of confrontation," Guterres tweeted. "There is no military solution. Only intra-Libyan dialogue can solve Libyan problems. I call for calm and restraint as I prepare to meet with the Libyan leaders in the country."

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Tensions in Libya have escalated since Haftar's Libyan National Army moved its forces about 60 miles south of Tripoli. Guterres is building support for a National Conference to set dates for legislative and presidential elections.

Libyan leader Fayez al-Sarraj met with Haftar in February to discuss national elections. Guterres called the summit an important step in the peace process.

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"To avoid major confrontation and to create the conditions to stabilize the situation in Libya, it's essential to unify the institutions of Libya," Guterres said.

I am deeply concerned by the military movement taking place in Libya and the risk of confrontation. There is no military solution. Only intra-Libyan dialogue can solve Libyan problems. I call for calm and restraint as I prepare to meet the Libyan leaders in the country.

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- António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 4, 2019

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