World powers demand end to Libya military campaign

Minnie Murray
April 7, 2019

However, the central government has struggled to assert itself in a country where numerous militias have long vied for power in carved-out enclaves.

He said no causalities were reported from the airstrikes, and that General Hifter's forces declared Tripoli a no-fly zone for warplanes.

Haftar then ordered his forces to march on the capital, saying in an audio recording posted online: "We are coming Tripoli, we are coming".

Haftar, 75, who casts himself as a foe of Islamist extremism but is viewed by opponents as a new dictator in the mold of Gaddafi, was quoted by Al-Arabiya TV as telling Guterres his offensive would continue until terrorism was defeated.

Hafter's media office said in a post online that they took full control of the Tripoli global airport and were working to secure the facility.

On Friday, Hifter forces, which are believed to enjoy the support of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, were pushed back from a key checkpoint they had taken west of Tripoli. The LNA vowed to retaliate.

Tripoli residents have expressed concern that large-scale fighting may break out and have begun stockpiling food and petrol.

The G7 group of major industrial nations has urged all parties "to immediately halt all military activity".

"There can be no military solution to the conflict", said Germany's UN Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, the president of the council, reading a statement from the body.

Russian Federation has also called on parties in the escalating conflict to find an agreement.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday during a visit to Cairo that Libyans should "decide their future themselves" through "inclusive" dialogue, "without any sort of artificial dates that some are trying to force upon them from outside".

Both countries have provided support to Gen Haftar.

"We are determined" to hold the talks "as scheduled" on April 14 unless prevented by serious obstacles, United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame said Saturday at a press conference in the capital.

Hope dashed for a political resolution?

Tripoli denied Haftar was part of the Libyan army, and he languished in jail until Washington granted him political asylum.

Despite the chorus of worldwide concern over his actions, he has had support from powerful outside players, including the UAE and Egypt.

AFRICOM, which led a 2016 bombardment campaign to dislodge Islamic State elements in the country, has maintained a special operations mission inside Libya that assists the government in counterterrorism efforts.

A former army officer, the General helped Colonel Gaddafi seize power in 1969 before falling out with him and going into exile in the US.

After more than two decades living in the United States, where he was rumoured to be working for the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2011 he returned home to take part in the uprising against Kadhafi.

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