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US, EU Urge Political Solution in Libya's Standoff

  • VOA News

FILE - General Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, a small town to the east of Benghazi.

FILE - General Khalifa Haftar speaks during a news conference at a sports club in Abyar, a small town to the east of Benghazi.

The United States and top European missions in Libya have expressed concern about the rising violence in the country, where clashes between rival militias have killed at least 70 people and wounded hundreds.

In a joint statement Friday, the U.S., European Union, Britain, France, Germany and Italy urged all sides to refrain from using force and to address differences through "political means."

They also called on Libya to hold parliamentary elections as soon as possible as a way to end the standoff.

About a week of clashes between government forces and those loyal to a rogue retired general have renewed fears of a descent by Libya into civil war. Retired General Khalifa Haftar touts himself as a nationalist who is waging a war to save Libya from Islamic extremists.

The fighting is some of the worst in Libya since the 2011 revolution that toppled long-time Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Earlier this week, Libya's electoral commission announced it will hold national parliamentary elections on June 25. Libya's parliament is divided between representatives of Islamist and non-Islamist forces.

The country has experienced chronic unrest since Moammar Gadhafi was ousted from power.

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