Plumes of black smoke is seen after clashes between the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council and fighters of renegade general Khalifa Haftar, as they attempt to seize control of the airport from the council in Benghazi August 23, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
(Reuters) – The United States and four European countries jointly called on Saturday for an end to violence in Libya.
The governments of France, Italy, Germany, Britain and the United States said in a statement that they “agree that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis” and expressed dismay that calls for a ceasefire had not been respected.
Dozens of people have been killed in Benghazi in days of fighting between Islamic militant groups, including Ansar al-Sharia, and pro-government forces led by former General Khalifa Haftar, who began an offensive on Wednesday.
The joint statement voiced concern over Haftar’s offensive and said Libya’s “fight against terrorist organizations can only be sustainably addressed by regular armed forces under the control of a central authority.”
Libya has failed to build up state security forces and disarm former rebels who helped remove Muammar Gaddafi, who ruled the country for 42 years until his downfall in 2011.
If the West gets out of the way and lets the anti-Islamists have their way — even if that means help from Egypt — there may be a stable future for Libya yet.