Major powers urge halt to Libya fighting

Washington (AFP) –


Key powers including backers of a rebel leader called Tuesday for a halt to fighting in Libya, warning that bloodshed was aggravating a crisis on multiple fronts.

The United States, France, Britain and Italy joined Egypt and the United Arab Emirates -- two supporters, along with Saudi Arabia, of military strongman Khalifa Haftar -- in voicing "deep concern" over the violence around the capital Tripoli.

The six powers "call for an immediate de-escalation and halt to the current fighting, and urge the prompt return to the UN-mediated political process," a joint statement said.

They warned that the fighting "has fueled a growing humanitarian emergency," aggravating a crisis with migrants, and voiced fear that extremists would thrive in the security vacuum.

The countries "call on all parties to the Tripoli conflict to dissociate themselves from all such terrorists and individuals designated by the UN Sanctions Committee, and renew our commitment to see those responsible for further instability held accountable," they said.

Nearly 1,100 people have been killed in Haftar's months-long campaign to wrest control of Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord.

While backing the government, Western powers earlier this year sent mixed signals, with US President Donald Trump praising Haftar in a phone call and France and Italy welcoming him on visits.