Smoke rises from the port of Tripoli, Libya, on February 18 after shelling by forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar. (Aydogan Kalabalik/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Libya’s UN-backed Gov’t Halts Cease-fire Talks over Port Shelling

Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) pulled out of cease-fire talks being held in Geneva to protest Tuesday’s shelling of Tripoli’s port by forces loyal to renegade general Khalifa Haftar. The shelling is reported to have killed three people. The GNA issued a statement saying it will “respond firmly to the attack in appropriate timing,” adding: “Negotiations don’t mean anything without permanent ceasefire guarantees returning the displaced people and the security of the capital and the other cities.” Khalifa’s self-styled Libya National Army (LNA) has been waging an offensive since last April, capturing cities as well as all-important oil fields. Since the summer it has besieged parts of the capital Tripoli, the GNA’s seat of power. The LNA initially said it had been aiming at a Turkish cargo ship accused of carrying arms, although this claim was later revised to say a weapons depot on land. Authorities in the port said the shelling just missed a vessel unloading highly flammable liquified petroleum gas. Rule over Libya has been in dispute since the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gaddafi in 2011.

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