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Libyan parliament calls for UN intervention to protect civilians

Posted on Aug 14 2014 | IANS

Tripoli, Aug 13 : The Libyan parliament that was elected in July Wednesday urged the UN for a military intervention to protect civilians from clashes between rival militias taking place in the capital, Tripoli, and the eastern city of Benghazi.

The call was backed by 111 of the 124 lawmakers present at the parliamentary session held in the eastern town of Tobruk, near the Egyptian border, far from the violence that has rocked the two main cities of the country over the past months, deputy Fattallah Saiti said.

The deputies urged the UN Security Council to intervene "urgently" to salvage Libya's institutions and protect civilians, as warring parties have been systematically refusing to lay down their arms and sit at the negotiating table.

They also asked the chairman of parliament to take the necessary measures to facilitate such an intervention.

The security situation in Libya has been deteriorating since May, when clashes erupted in Benghazi between military units led by renegade General Khalifa Haftar and Islamist armed groups in a bid to gain control over the territory.

On July 13 the situation worsened when militias from the city of Misrata, 200 km east of Tripoli, launched an offensive to seize the capital's international airport from Zintan militants.

The clashes, in which about 200 people were killed, forced thousands of people to flee Libya and led many countries to evacuate their citizens and diplomats from the country.

Three years after the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi regime in 2011, insecurity is widespread as Libyan transitional authorities have failed to dismantle or disarm rebel groups active in the country.

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