Stop interfering in Libya – UN envoy tells foreign states

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The UN’s Libya envoy Ghassan Salamé has called on foreign powers to stop interfering in Libya’s civil war.

On the eve of peace talks in Berlin, Mr Salamé said foreign support of proxy groups in the conflict had created a “vicious cycle” of violence.

But Mr Salamé told the BBC that he was optimistic about the negotiations.

It comes after nine months of conflict between the powerful General Khalifa Haftar and the UN-backed government in the capital Tripoli.

A truce was announced earlier this month between Gen Haftar and the Government of National Accord (GNA).

But both sides blame each other for reported breaches of the agreement, and attempts to broker a lasting ceasefire broke down last week at a summit in Moscow.

On Saturday, forces loyal to Gen Haftar blocked oil exports from several major Libyan ports. The move is a damaging blow to the country’s main source of income, a day before renewed peace talks begin.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Salamé called on international powers to stop supporting local proxy groups with mercenaries, arms, financing, and direct military support.

He said such actions created “a vicious circle where their proxies call for intervention in their fight, and their own ambitions bring more divisions.”

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the 2011 uprising which ousted long-time strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Gen Haftar’s LNA controls much of eastern Libya, and last April he launched an offensive against the country’s rival government in Tripoli.

Titi