Western powers call for end to fighting in Libya

AFP , Friday 7 Nov 2014

Western powers called Friday for an immediate end to fighting in Libya, where a power struggle between the central authorities and Islamist militias has plunged the country into chaos.

The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada and Malta issued the joint statement saying they were "deeply concerned" about the situation in the North African state.

"We urge all parties to cease all military operations and to refrain from taking any steps which increase the polarization and divisions in the country," they said.

The eight countries have issued joint statements in the past urging an end to the violence, as conditions there have spiraled out of control.

In the latest twist in the struggle for power, the Libyan Supreme Court on Thursday invalidated the parliament and nullified a constitutional amendment that led to its election June 25.

The parliament, which is recognized by the international community, immediately rejected the Supreme Court ruling as made "under the threat of arms."

"We are studying carefully the decision of the Supreme Court, its context and consequences," the statement by the Western powers said.

Tripoli, where the Supreme Court has its seat, is controled by a coalition of Islamist militias, Fajr Libya (Libya Dawn), which have created a parallel "parliament" and "government."

Tripoli and Benghazi, the country's second largest city, have been the scene of daily fighting between pro-government and Islamist forces.

The parliament, which is dominated by opponents of the Islamist militias, now meets in Tobruk for security reasons rather than in Benghazi.

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