April 6, 2019 / 1:33 PM / 7 months ago

G7 powers urge Haftar to halt advance on Libya's capital

DINARD, France, April 6 (Reuters) - Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar must heed international warnings to halt his advance on Libya’s capital, Italy’s foreign minister said, as powers from the G7 club said there could be no military solution to the country’s power struggle.

Haftar’s troops have moved into the southern outskirts of Tripoli in a dangerous thrust against the U.N.-backed government that has caused alarm among Western capitals.

“We very much hope Haftar will take (our warnings) into consideration,” Enzo Milanesi told reporters at the close of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in western France.

The turmoil in Libya dominated a summit which had been scheduled to focus on combatting cyber security and foreign interference in liberal democracies and global inequality.

In a communique, the foreign ministers urged Libya’s rival factions to show restraint and put the interests of the OPEC producer’s people first. The country’s oil installations should not be used by any group for political gain, it said.

“We are agreed that we must use all the possibilities at our disposal to exert pressure on those responsible in Libya especially General Haftar, so that we avoid any further military escalation,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass told reporters.

Concern over Libya’s stability is heightened by continuing political tensions around Europe over migration from north Africa, despite the fact that the numbers of new arrivals in Europe via the central Mediterranean have plummeted. (Reporting by John Irish, Julie Carriat and Marine Pennetier; Editing by Richard Lough)

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