U.N. urges calm, dialogue in Libya

Photo: U.N. urges calm, dialogue in Libya / Arab World

The U.N. Secretary-General urged calm Saturday in Libya amid fears of clashes between pro-government militias and forces backing a rogue general bent on ridding the country of violent extremists, Alarabiya reported.

Renegade ex-general Khalifa Haftar earlier said the Libyan people have given him a "mandate" to crush militants, a day after thousands rallied in his support in Benghazi and Tripoli.

Ban Ki-moon "is deeply concerned by recent developments in Libya, in particular the growing military mobilization in and around the capital Tripoli," according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

Haftar's campaign has won growing support amid frustration at the lawlessness in Libya three years after the overthrow of dictator Moamer Qaddafi.

But the U.N. chief insisted that "armed confrontation risks negating the sacrifices made by the Libyan people during their struggle for freedom and human dignity, particularly at this critical juncture in the political transition process," Dujarric said.

Ban "urges all parties in Libya to refrain from acts which undermine the democratic transition, and also to resume dialogue," according to the statement.

Legislative elections are set for June 25, against a backdrop of bloody violence and a country in the grips of a severe political crisis.

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