US calls for 'immediate halt' to Libya fighting

US says all sides have 'responsibility to urgently de-escalate situation' after 11 more people killed in Tripoli.

    US calls for 'immediate halt' to Libya fighting
    More than 35 people, including civilians, have been killed on both sides since Haftar launched his offensive last week [Hani Amara/Reuters]

    The United States has called for an immediate halt to military operations in Libya as the Libyan National Army (LNA) headed by Khalifa Haftar advanced on the capital, Tripoli.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement on Sunday that Washington was "deeply concerned about fighting near Tripoli" and urged talks to end the fighting.

    "This unilateral military campaign against Tripoli is endangering civilians and undermining prospects for a better future for all Libyans," said Pompeo.

    All sides had a "responsibility to urgently de-escalate the situation, Pompeo said, adding that there was "no military solution to the Libya conflict" and sides should return to negotiations. 

    "We have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar's forces and urge the immediate halt to these military operations against the Libyan capital," Pompeo said in urging de-escalation. 

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    At least 11 people were killed and 23 wounded in clashes in southern Tripoli, the health ministry of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) said late on Sunday. 

    At least 35 people, including civilians, have been killed on both sides since Haftar launched his offensive four days ago.

    The GNA controls Tripoli, situated in northwestern Libya, while the LNA is allied to a parallel administration based in the east of the oil-rich country, which splintered into a patchwork of competing power bases following the overthrow of former leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

    On Sunday, the US military said it had temporarily pulled some of its forces out of Libya amid the upsurge in fighting in the North African country.

    "Due to increased unrest in Libya, a contingent of US forces supporting US Africa Command temporarily relocated from the country in response to security conditions on the ground," it said in a statement.

    It did not detail how many military personnel had been withdrawn. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies