UN calls for fresh Libya talks as West considers taking 'additional measures'

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Published Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The UN mission to Libya said Wednesday it will call for fresh talks between warring factions in an attempt to end months of violence and political deadlock in the country, a day after two separate shells killed 16 people in the country.

UN Special Representative Bernardino Leon will lead the new round of negotiations on December 9, the organization's Libya mission said in a statement.

It did not say where the talks would take place or who would take part.

The UN's push for dialogue came as the United States and key allies said they were ready to take further steps to protect the North African nation.

In a statement after a meeting in Brussels convened by Secretary of State John Kerry, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the European Union "expressed grave concern over the deteriorating situation" in Libya.

They said that if key forces did not take part in UN-led peace moves they were willing to "consider additional measures to protect Libya's unity, stability and prosperity, and to counter expanding terrorist threats to Libya and the region".

The statement did not give any details of what action they might take

More than three years after dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and killed in a NATO-backed revolt, the country is awash with weapons and powerful militias, and has rival governments and parliaments.

A previous attempt at UN-brokered talks between the warring factions in June was unsuccessful.

But the UN mission insisted on Wednesday that a breakthrough was still possible.

"There is agreement among the various Libyan actors that the way forward is to hold an inclusive political dialogue to tackle the crisis with a view to end the fighting and alleviate the suffering of the civilian population," the UN statement said.

Fierce clashes persist in second city Benghazi and west of the capital Tripoli between forces loyal to the internationally recognized government and a rebel group of mainly Islamist militias.

On Sunday, a source at Benghazi hospital said that in the past six weeks, 400 people have been killed in heavy fighting between Libyan pro-government forces and Islamist groups in Benghazi.

Meanwhile, a Libyan health official said Wednesday that the death toll from a stray shell that struck a residential neighborhood in Libya's eastern Benghazi city one day earlier rose to nine.

A hospital spokesman said Tuesday that five people had been killed and seven injured after a stray shell fell in Benghazi's Ben Younes district.

But early Wednesday, two people succumbed to injuries sustained during Tuesday's shelling, the official, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency, adding that body parts of two unidentified individuals were brought to Benghazi's Galaa hospital.

Moreover, also on Tuesday, an airstrike on the coastal city of Zuara in western Libya killed seven people, including five African migrant workers.

Forces loyal to former general Khalifa Haftar, who is allied to Libya's internationally recognized government and has vowed to expel Islamist militias from main cities, carried out the raids, an official told Anadolu.
In an interview published last week, Haftar said he has set two weeks to take Benghazi and three months to recapture the capital, Tripoli.

(AFP, Anadolu, Al-Akhbar)


Haftar is supported by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and the USA . His goal is to inflict a total defeat on all the Islamists that are supported by Qatar.
Another failure for Qatar's Moslem Brotherhood ally is looming

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