Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union called on Monday for a cease-fire in Libya, saying the conflict around the capital of Tripoli is a threat to international peace and security.
The self-styled Libyan National Army, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, launched an offensive on Tripoli last month. His force, based in eastern Libya, is battling rival militias loosely allied with the U.N.-supported government in the capital.
In a statement, EU foreign ministers called "on all parties to immediately implement a cease-fire and to engage with the United Nations to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities."
They said that "indiscriminate attacks on densely populated residential areas may amount to war crimes" and that those responsible should be held to account.
The head of the Tripoli-based government, Fayez Sarraj, met with the ministers Monday.
Ghassan Salame, the United Nation's special envoy for Libya, briefed the EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday about the situation in Libya and also met with the NATO secretary-general and Germany's foreign minister, U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York.
"Salame stressed that more than a month after the outbreak of fighting, it is becoming clear to everyone that a military solution cannot replace a political solution, and that it is high time now to return to the negotiating table," Haq said.
He said the U.N. remains "extremely concerned about the mounting impact of the fighting on civilians in and around Tripoli," citing reports of casualties over the weekend and the deepening humanitarian impact of clashes.
The International Organization for Migration, the U.N.'s migration agency, reports that "nearly 67,000 people have now been driven from their homes, while an estimated 100,000 more people are thought to remain in front-line areas," Haq said.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.