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UN-backed government in Libya suspends talks following an attack

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

365体育投注官网GENEVA (AP) — The U.N.-supported government in Libya said Tuesday it has suspended its participation in talks in Geneva aimed at salvaging a fragile cease-fire in the North African country following an attack on Tripoli’s strategic port.

The country’s warring sides had resumed their U.N.-brokered military negotiations earlier Tuesday, however the forces of military commander Khalifa Hifter stepped up their attacks on the Libyan capital, hitting its seaport.

It appeared to be the first such attack on Tripoli’s port since Hifter’s forces began their siege of the city almost a year ago.

365体育投注官网The country’s National Oil Corporation, which dominates Libya’s critical oil industry and is based in Tripoli, said projectiles struck meters away from a highly explosive liquefied petroleum gas tanker discharging in the port, prompting it to evacuate fuel vessels from the area and cancel offloading operations.

Mustafa Sanalla, head of the NOC, warned that Tripoli doesn’t have operational fuel storage facilities because the capital’s main storage warehouse was evacuated as a result of the fighting.

365体育投注官网“The consequences will be immediate: Hospitals, schools, power stations and other vital services will be disrupted,” he said in a statement.

Ghassan Salame, the head of the U.N. support mission in Libya, called the port attack a “big breach” of the cease-fire.

Footage shared online show thick, black smoke rising from the dock areas of Tripoli, supposedly from the shelling.

Oil-rich Libya is split between rival governments based in its east and west, each backed by an array of foreign countries apparently jockeying for influence in order to control Libya’s resources.

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