Fighters loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord, led by Fayez al-Sarraj, are shown near the front line during clashes in the Tripoli area against forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

European Nations Call for End to Libya Conflict

Germany, France and Italy have called for an end to the conflict in Libya after strongman Khalifa Haftar threatened a “decisive battle and the advance on the heart of Tripoli,” the seat of the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA). The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Haftar and backed primarily by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, launched an assault on the Libyan capital earlier this year but came up against unanticipated heavy resistance from rebel groups aligned with the GNA. The battle for Tripoli is estimated to already have killed more than 200 civilians and 2,000 fighters since April, further destabilizing a country thrust into chaos following the 2011 NATO-led ouster of longtime dictator Moammar Qaddafi. The three European nations, which are trying to stave off additional violence ahead of an upcoming peace summit in Berlin, urged “all Libyan and international parties to cease military action, make a sincere commitment to a comprehensive and lasting cessation of hostilities and resume a credible UN-led negotiation process.” To date, all attempts to broker a political solution between the GNA and LNA – in addition to the competing Tobruk-based Libyan House of Representatives, whose members’ allegiance is split between the two – have failed. In the interim, Libya has become a breeding ground for terrorist groups as well as the primary point of departure for millions of migrants attempting to reach Europe.

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