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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN warns against Libya escalation after Egypt intervention threat

The situation in Libya could further escalate (Getty)

Date of publication: 23 June, 2020

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The UN said Monday the "last thing" Libya needs is more conflict on its territory, after Egypt warned of military intervention in the neighbouring country.

The UN said Monday the "last thing" Libya needs is more conflict on its territory, after Egypt warned of military intervention in the neighbouring country.

"It is clear that the last thing Libya needs right now is more fighting, more military mobilization, more transfer of weapons, more presence of either foreign fighters or mercenaries on its soil," said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric during his daily press conference.

"We're alarmed by the continued military mobilization in central Libya, particularly in Sirte," and by the "flagrant violations of the arms embargo," Dujarric said.

He added it was "important for none of the parties to do anything that would make the situation worse."

Oil-rich Libya has been torn by violence, drawing in tribal militias, jihadists and mercenaries since the 2011 toppling and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Khadafi in a Western-backed uprising.

Read more: What does Egypt's 'declaration of war' in Libya really mean?

Since 2015, a power struggle has pitted the UN-recognized, Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) against strongman Khalifa Haftar, who claims legitimacy from an eastern-based elected parliament.

Haftar has been trying unsuccessfully to seize the capital since April 2019, with support from neighboring Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

On Saturday, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that if pro-GNA forces advanced on the strategic city of Sirte - some 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of Tripoli - it could provoke a "direct" intervention by Cairo.

The GNA on Sunday denounced the warning, labelling it a "declaration of war."

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