US urges ‘immediate halt’ to military offensive by Libya’s Haftar: Sec of State Pompeo

WASHINGTON The United States is deeply concerned by fighting near Libya's capital Tripoli and is seeking an immediate halt to an offensive by strongman Khalifa Haftar, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

We have made clear that we oppose the military offensive by Khalifa Haftar's forces and urge the immediate halt to these military operations against the Libyan capital, he said in a statement.

Libya descended into chaos during the 2011 overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi that has seen a bitter rivalry emerge between the Tripoli-based authorities and Haftar's supporters in the east of the country.

Fighting raged south of Tripoli on Sunday, three days after Haftar launched the offensive to seize the capital, now controlled by a UN-backed unity government and an array of militias.

But Pompeo stressed that there is no military solution to the Libya conflict, and urged all parties to urgently de-escalate the situation.

This unilateral military campaign against Tripoli is endangering civilians and undermining prospects for a better future for all Libyans, he said.

The United States continues to press Libyan leaders, together with our international partners, to return to political negotiations mediated by UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salame, he added.

A political solution is the only way to unify the country and provide a plan for security, stability, and prosperity for all Libyans.