Published: Thu, April 11, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Libya national conference postponed due to fighting

Libya national conference postponed due to fighting

The closed-door talks in NY come a day after the United Nations postponed a Libyan national conference aimed at drawing up an election roadmap because of fighting raging on Tripoli's doorstep.

The authority of Libya's UN-backed government is not recognized by a parallel government in the east of the country.

Haftar, a former Kadhafi military chief, has emerged as a major player, his self-styled Libyan National Army backing an administration in the country's east in opposition to the UN-backed government based in Tripoli. "The clashes have intensified". Their appeal was not heeded, with thousands of people attempting to flee the area.

According to the news network, council chairman Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj instructed prosecutors to prepare arrest warrants against the military leader.

That said, We had no option but to send them precautionary message that we can reach, stop and prevent them from using the airport in any military activities. The attack was later claimed by Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar and his LNA, who said they targeted a military plane and helicopter.

"The government of the accord doesn't have the means to fight, but -as it's internationally recognised and backed- it gives a legitimate cover for the forces".

"We're still organising ourselves".

Hafter has defied global calls, including from the UN Security Council and the United States, to halt the surprise offensive launched on Thursday.

Speaking on the ground, the UNHCR's Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, Matthew Brook, said they were rapidly evacuating refugees away from the conflict.

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But the plan was thrown into chaos last week when Gen Haftar launched an assault on Tripoli, the seat of Mr Serraj's government, on the pretext of rooting out terrorists.

The GNA s health ministry on Monday put the death toll in the fighting at 35.

Opponents cast him as a would-be dictator in the mould of Gaddafi, though Haftar projects himself as a champion against Islamist extremism.

It caused no casualties, but left a metre-deep (yard-deep) crater on a runway.

The renewed conflict threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration across the Mediterranean to Europe and scupper United Nations plans for an election to end rivalries between parallel administrations in east and west.

Rival leaders agreed previous year to hold elections before December 10, 2018 under a French plan, but that vote never materialized.

The UN had scheduled a three-day conference on April 14 in the southwestern town of Ghadames to discuss a constitutional framework for elections as a way to end the North African country's eight-year crisis.

"I will work with all my might to hold Libya's national conference as soon as possible ... when the conditions for success are in place", United Nations envoy Ghassan Salame said.

He expressed hope the meeting would take place "as soon as possible".

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