Tunisia's Ennahda says Libya fighting 'coup,' urges calm
By Adel al-Thabti, Tuesday, May 20, 2014
TUNIS – Tunisia's Ennahda movement on Tuesday denounced an offensive launched by a renegade army general in neighboring Libya as a "coup attempt," with its leader calling on rival Libyan factions to lay down their arms.
In a Tuesday statement, Ennahda voiced concern over recent developments in Libya "where armed force was used in a coup attempt that left scores dead or injured."
Forces loyal to renegade Libyan army general Khalifa Haftar have taken up arms against militia groups that now serve as part of Libya's regular army in the eastern city of Benghazi.
The fighting, which flared up on Friday, has left 75 people dead and 141 injured.
Ennahda described Haftar's campaign as "a coup attempt… that targets the Libyan revolution and state institutions."
The Islamist movement went on to call for "stopping the bloodshed in Libya, providing favorable conditions for stability and calm and starting an inclusive national dialogue that will bring together all political rivals and pave the way for reconciliation."
Ennahda leader Rachid Ghannouchi, meanwhile, called on rival Libyan factions "to put arms aside" and engage in dialogue.
"I regret what happened in Libya over the past two days, which claimed scores of lives and terrorized women and children," Ghannouchi told Anadolu Agency.
"A national dialogue would bring about solutions that can be satisfactory to all sides," he added, saying that mediation efforts with partisan and tribal leaders had begun in Libya with the aim of ending the turmoil.
In a related development, the Tunisian Foreign Ministry urged its nationals not to travel to Libya, except in cases of emergency.
In a statement, the ministry said the warning was intended to "preserve the security and safety of Tunisian nationals."
It also called on Tunisians in Libya to "take utmost precautionary measures in their movement" in the turmoil-hit country.
Libya has suffered from chronic instability since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
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