Clashes continue in Libya as UN tries to hold peace talks
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon made a surprise trip to Libya to Tripoli in support of an ongoing reconciliation process. Libya has two separate governments, one in Tripoli, and the elected internationally-recognized one in Tobruk.
The two main warring factions are mostly-Islamist-dominated militias that control Tripoli and most of Benghazi and CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar and his allies, who control the far east and important oil ports. Ban called on Haftar to stop his operations in the east and for the Libyan Dawn militia to leave the international airport in Tripoli. The Islamic militias earlier rejected the peace talks in Ghadames. However, some Islamists who had boycotted the parliament in Tobruk attended. Unless representatives of the militias are involved in negotiations, nothing is likely to be solved. There does not seem to be all-out warfare throughout the country. In fact oil production is increasing. Ban said: "The international community can't tolerate the continuous spilling of blood of Libyans." Ban was at a televised meeting of rival groups plus the Italian foreign minister and other European diplomats. Ban said that fighting had to end without any pre-conditions. Ban does not seem to have noticed that he had just demanded that an Islamist militia withdraw from the Tripoli airport. The UN dialogue was launched on Sept. 29. Ban said:
"We understand the path will be long and difficult. The country can't afford to be politically divided."
Meanwhile fighting between Haftar allies the Zintan Brigades and Libyan Dawn killed at least 23 people in Kikla, southwest of Tripoli, the capital. Hospital authorities in the nearby town of Gharyan — about 80 kilometres southwest of Tripoli — said that there were also 43 people wounded, 10 critically. The clash was a result of the Zintan Brigades trying to take the town occupied by Libya Dawn. The brigades took part of the town but were driven back and the road reopened to the capital. There have also been clashes in the Warshefana district near Tripoli that killed and injured dozens and resulted in 100,000 fleeing their homes.
Another report claims that 46 were killed in the Kikla clashes as well as in Gharyan. Over 100 were said to be wounded. The towns are in the Nafusa Mountainous area about 120 kilometers south of Tripoli according to that source. The Zintan militias were said to have arrived in a convoy of 100 armoured vehicles and tanks. The attack was launched just as Ban Ki-moon was urging militias to arrange a cease fire. Neither of the competing groups of militia appear ready to negotiate a cease fire at present. The UN seems to be talking with political representatives who have no control over the militias.