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Worldwide community warns Haftar against Tripoli attack

07 April 2019

An LNA-allied militia withdrew overnight from so-called Gate 27, leaving it abandoned in the morning, a Reuters reporter said.

Haftar, commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), launched an offensive on Thursday to take the capital, held by a UN-backed unity government and an array of militias.

Clashes erupted at night in the western district of Qasr Bani Ghashir, close to Tripoli International airport, which was destroyed in 2014 fighting.

As well as visiting Haftar in Benghazi, UN boss Guterres had been in Tripoli this week to help organise a national reconciliation conference planned for later this month.

At a G7 meeting in France, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he and his counterparts had agreed they must exert pressure on those responsible for the upsurge of fighting in Libya, especially Haftar. "Haftar is responding in his way to the lack of political power in Tripoli and he is being egged on by Russian advisers, who would like to strike a blow against North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", said the source.

According to Reuters, the USA provided air support to Libyan forces fighting ISIS in 2016 and continued to launch strikes on suspected militants there after the end of that campaign.

However, Russia also warned against efforts to blame Gen Haftar for the insecurity in the country.

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The U.N. Security Council, which met behind closed doors on Friday, has also called on Libyan National Army forces to cease their advances. The UN Security council has issued a similar call. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said: "There is a fundamental principle in Libya".

There were conflicting reports during the day as to how much and where exactly Haftar's fighters were advancing in areas such as Souk al-Khamis.

Haftar believes that "a national conference is a forum in which all the actors must. show they are willing to accept his absolute supremacy", said Jalel Harchaoui, research fellow at The Hague-based Clingendael Institute. He said five of his troops were killed. The LNA called on Friday for Tripoli's militias to disarm. - The militiamen retook the base after a "short exchange of fire", the source said April 5 on condition of anonymity.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tried personal diplomacy on Thursday and Friday, meeting with GNA prime minister Fayez Al Sarraj in Tripoli and then flying east to meet Field Marshall Haftar and leaders of the House of Representatives parliament, a rival government to the GNA. But gaining control of Tripoli - the ultimate prize for Haftar's eastern parallel government - would be far more complicated.

Amid growing worldwide alarm, the Group of Seven (G7) - a bloc comprised of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan the United Kingdom and the United States - issued a statement on Friday saying there was "no military solution to the Libyan conflict".

Russian Federation called for "all possible efforts to fully resolve the situation with peaceful political means".

A former officer in Qaddafi's army, Haftar enjoys the backing of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, which see him as a bulwark against extremists and have supported him militarily, according to UN reports.

Worldwide community warns Haftar against Tripoli attack