40 countries urge Libya to resolve military crisis

40 countries urge Libya to resolve military crisis

UNITED NATIONS - The Associated Press
40 countries urge Libya to resolve military crisis

Video monitors show a live broadcast of Ageila Saleh Eissa, president of the newly elected Libya’s House of Representatives, as he speaks during a high level meeting on Libya, Sept. 25, during the 69th session of the UN General Assembly meetings at the United Nations headquarters. AP Photo

Forty countries and three major organizations have urged Libya’s feuding political leaders to peacefully resolve the political and military crisis gripping the North African country.

A statement issued by the chairman of a high-level meeting convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the annual meeting of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly said the political polarization and military conflict are posing “a dangerous and significant threat” to the country’s transition to democracy.

Libya has grown increasingly lawless and has been witnessing the worst bout of violence since the 2011 overthrow of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Weeks of fighting among rival militias has displaced more than 300,000 people.

The latest violence, which erupted in July, forced Libya’s elected House of Representatives to convene in the eastern city of Tobruk after Islamist-allied militias seized the capital, Tripoli, and the country’s second-largest city, Benghazi. The militias, meanwhile, formed their own government and revived Libya’s outgoing parliament in Tripoli.

“The political transition process is facing its biggest challenge since the revolution,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “We must do our utmost to reverse this course and help the Libyan people safeguard their democratic transition.”

The political mission in Libya said on Sept. 21 that the rival groups agreed to hold talks on Sept. 29, an initiative welcomed by the participants.

The U.N. announcement said a joint U.N.-Libyan committee would oversee a future ceasefire. The mission urged the rivals to agree on a timeline to pull out fighters and armed groups from major cities, airports and other key installations.