UN chief Guterres warns of risk of confrontation in Libya

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that fighting between rival factions in Libya could break out again as forces from the east of the country move toward Tripoli, and he appealed for restraint.

Guterres arrived in Tripoli on Wednesday to promote peace talks as a brief skirmish took place between Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) and forces allied to Tripoli Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj after the LNA moved discreetly westward from their stronghold in Benghazi.

“I am deeply concerned by the military movement taking place in Libya and the risk of confrontation,” Guterres said in a tweet.

“There is no military solution. Only intra-Libyan dialogue can solve Libyan problems. I call for calm and restraint as I prepare to meet the Libyan leaders in the country.”

Guterres said on arriving in the capital he was committed to a Libyan-led political process that would lead to peace, stability, democracy and prosperity.

The confrontation was a setback for the United Nations and Western countries which have been trying to mediate between Serraj and Haftar, who met in Abu Dhabi last month to discuss a power-sharing deal.

A national conference is set to follow this month to agree on a road map for elections.

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