Western powers urge Libyan groups to cease armed operations amid chaos
Members of pro-government Libyan forces fire at Islamist militiamen on Nov. 3 near Libya's restive city of Benghazi. (AFP/Mohamed El-Sheikhi)
Libya was urged by Western nations Friday "to cease all military operations" amid a deteriorating political situation.
Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States issued a joint statement in response to political and security developments in Libya.
On Thursday, Libya's Supreme Court dissolved the country's parliament, its only internationally recognized government body.
The court's ruling came after Islamist members of the House of Representatives questioned the constitutionality of moving the legislature from the capital, Tripoli, to Tobruk, because militias seized Tripoli earlier this year.
"We are studying carefully the decision of the Supreme Court, its context and consequences," the eight western nations noted Friday.
"We note that the challenges facing Libya require political solutions. We remain committed to helping Libyans at this difficult time.
"We fully support the efforts of the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General and urge all parties to cooperate with him to ensure immediate and inclusive consultations among the stakeholders to agree on the way forward.
"We urge all parties to cease all military operations and to refrain from taking any steps which increase the polarization and divisions in the country."
Thursday's ruling by the court nullifies June's parliamentary elections, by which the current government was formed. The Cabinet of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani was sworn in, in Tobruk, in September. The Islamist coalition in Tripoli, the General National Congress, does not recognize al-Thani's government, which has been recognized internationally and by the United Nations.
"We and our international partners are seeking to obtain the full text of the decision to understand what the decision implies," U.S. Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said Thursday. "As you know, we have long recognized the house of representatives as the legitimate parliamentary representative body. So we will take a look at the text and determine what that will mean."
By JC Finley
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