UN, EU demand immediate halt to fighting in Libya

UN, EU demand immediate halt to fighting in Libya
A Libyan fighter loyal to the Government of National Accord (GNA) mans a turret mounted on the back of a pickup truck during clashes with forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar south of the capital Tripoli's suburb of Ain Zara, April 10, 2019.

The United Nations and European Union are urging an immediate end to the fighting in Libya which is threatening to destabilize the entire region.

Rival governments in Libya — the internationally recognized administration of Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli, and General Khalifa Haftar’s government in the east — are battling for control of the capital.

U.N. officials say three emergency medical providers have reportedly been killed and more than 8,000 civilians have fled their homes.

“We remain deeply concerned about the well-being of the civilians in and around the areas of clashes, especially amid increasing reports of indiscriminate shelling,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday. He added that families trapped in the battle zone are running out of supplies, and emergency teams are going in at great personal risk.

The U.N. is calling for a humanitarian truce to let emergency aid in and to give civilians a chance to get out. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says there can be no military solution and that the parties must return to the political process.

The European Union is calling on Haftar’s Libyan National Army forces to halt their offensive against the capital.

“The military attack launched by the LNA on Tripoli and the subsequent escalation in and around the capital are endangering civilians, including migrants and refugees, and disrupting the U.N.-led political process, with the risk of serious consequences for Libya and the wider region, including the terrorist threat,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said.

The fighting for control of Tripoli was still centered in the city’s southern suburbs Thursday. The U.N. says at least 56 people have been killed, while al-Serraj’s government says it has taken 200 prisoners.

Libya has been in political and economic chaos since longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi was toppled and killed in 2011.

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