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At least 7 dead in airport clashes amid mounting concerns on Libya violence - Daily News Egypt

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At least 7 dead in airport clashes amid mounting concerns on Libya violence

Amid escalating violence, voices calling on Libyan parties to end fighting and engage in dialogue are raised

Libya’s neighbours decided on Monday to form committees to offer the troubled country suggestions to end its crisis, after fighting around Tripoli International Airport left at least seven dead and dozens injured.

Libya’s neighbouring countries decided, during talks in Tunisia on Monday, to form a security committee and a political committee, which will be supervised by Tunisia. The committees will provide Libya with suggestions “without interfering in the country’s internal affairs”, Tunisian state-agency TAP reported. The preliminary agreement was made at the end of the two-day talks hosted by Tunisia.

This comes a day after deadly violence between rival militias over control of the Libyan capital’s airport.

Violence in Libya has been a major concern for its neighbours. Libya’s eastern neighbour Egypt expressed grave concerns regarding the violence in Libya during the past few days, in a statement by the foreign ministry on Monday. Egypt affirmed its full support to the “free” choices of the Libyan people. Last month, Libyans elected a House of Representatives and a constitution is currently being drafted by an elected constituent assembly. Egypt said it is looking forward to the completion of the constitution and to working with the legislature, which has not convened yet.

Top Egyptian military and foreign ministry officials have repeatedly held talks with their Libyan counterparts in the past few weeks regarding security issues. Egypt has however, repeatedly condemned attempts from “inside or outside Libya” to involve Egypt in Libya’s developments.

At the beginning of the Tunisia talks on Sunday, Tunisian Interim President Moncef Marzouki said the ideal solution to facing the increasing security threats is to create joint forces between Libya and its neighbours to secure borders, TAP reported. He added that the instability in Libya represents a threat to all of its neighbours.

Marzouki stressed the keenness of Libya’s neighbours in placing all of their resources at the hands of the “legitimate [Libyan] government” to help it overcome major challenges— especially security challenges in common border areas.

Commenting on the violence near the airport, United Kingdom’s Foreign Office Minister for Middle East Hugh Robertson said in a statement: “These actions are putting the lives of people in the area in grave danger. We urge all sides to cease violence immediately and to engage in meaningful dialogue.”

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya called for “a cessation of hostilities” and called on Libyan authorities, political forces and armed groups to “put an end to the plight of the civilians” in a statement on Sunday. It also reiterated calls to refrain from “use of force to achieve political objectives” and reaffirmed the “necessity of political dialogue”.

The US State Department said in a statement on Saturday that it is deeply concerned that the violence in Libya “could lead to widespread conflict.”

Violence has repeatedly surged and died down in Libya after the overthrow of former president Muammar Gaddafi, who was killed by militants in October 2011. However, the violence drastically escalated in 2014 when retired General Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign in May, titled Operation Dignity, to root out “terrorism” in the coastal city of Benghazi. The authorities have denounced his actions, labelling him an outlaw.

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