US, Europe condemn Libya violence | News | DW | 26.08.2014

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US, Europe condemn Libya violence

The United States and European allies have issued a warning on Libya, condemning the 'escalation' in violence there while cautioning against outside meddling. The group of nations called for an immediate ceasefire.

The statement, signed by the governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, warned that outside inteference in Libya would worsen divisions and slow down any hope of a democratic transition in the country.

The New York Times, citing unnamed American officials, reported that neighboring Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have launched airstrikes against Islamists in Libya twice over the past week.

The US and EU governments "strongly condemn the escalation of fighting and violence in and around Tripoli, Benghazi, and across Libya, especially against residential areas, public facilities, and critical infrastructure, by both land attack and airstrikes," the statement said.

Libya is experiencing its worst violence since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, with various militias fighting one another and the central government unable to control the situation. Observers fear that without effective control over the entire country, Libya could degenerate into a failed state, or an all-out civil war could begin.

On Monday, Libya's former Islamist-dominated parliament reconvened on Monday and voted to disband the country's current interim government, which was elected in June.

Local media said members of the old General National Congress had agreed to reconvene at the behest of Islamist militias from the western city of Misrata, who seized control of Tripoli's airport from rivals fighters from Zintan on Saturday.

The Islamist militias have attempted to tighten their grip on power in the capital after claiming the airport and forcing rivals to withdraw. The fighting began after the June elections, in which Islamist candidates lost the parliament, and renegade general Khalifa Hifter began a military campaign against Islamist-allied militias in Libya's second-largest city, Benghazi.

Western allies hopeful of UN efforts

Monday's statement from the US and European allies called on all parties in Libya to "accept an immediate ceasefire and engage constructively in the democratic process, abstaining from confrontational initiatives that risk undermining it."

The group said it looked forward to discussions on Libya in the coming days within the UN Security Council, including "consequences for those who undermind Libya's peace and stability."

The statement stressed that "outside inteference in Libya exacerbates current divisions and undermines Libya's democratic transition."

Libya's neighbors pledge not to intervene

Libya's North African neighbors on Monday expressed their support for the country's elected parliament, amid the challenge from the former interim assembly.

Following talks in Cairo, the foreign ministers of Libya and other North African nations said they agreed the country's problems must be solved internally.

jr/jm (Reuters, AFP)