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Libya’s government suspends peace talks after Haftar port attack

EPA/SABRI ELMHEDWI
Libyan Security forces guard outside the Crown Prince's Palace, where the Libyan parliament is holding a session, in Tripoli, Libya, 25 May 2014. Media reports state the Libyan National Congress (parliament) met to approve the new government led by Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeg. Gunmen aligned with retired army colonel Khalifa Haftar attacked parliament on 18 May, forcing lawmakers to flee amid heavy gunfire.

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Libya’s UN-backed government, the GNA, has suspended peace talks in Geneva, following an attack on a strategic port in Tripoli on Tuesday.
“We announce suspending our participation in the military talks held in Geneva until strict stances are taken towards the aggressor and its vioaltions “, the GNA said in a statement, adding that “the militias hit Tripoli’s port which is considered a lifeline for many of Libya’s cities”.
“Negotiations don’t mean anything without permanent cease-fire guarantees returning the displaced people and the security of the capital and the other cities”, it added.
The attack came as representatives of the GNA and rival commander Khalifa Haftar’s LNA were starting their second round of UN-brokered peace talks in Switzerland. Germany and the UN hosted the meeting, attempting to cut off external military support for the warring parties in the country, as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey refuse to stop arming their allies.
The LNA is backed by the UAE, France, Russia and Egypt, while the GNA’s main supporter is Turkey. Turkey said that Haftar’s forces had fired on a Turkish ship near the port but “missed” the target.
Haftar’s forces said they had attacked a depot for weapons and ammuniton at the port “to weaken the combat capabilities of the mercenaries who arrived from Syria” to support Tripoli.
Libya’s state oil company, National Oil Corporation, said it had evacuated all fuel tankers from the facility after a missile struck metres away “from a highly explosive liquefied petroleum gas tanker discharging in the port”.

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