Arab League warns of Libya war escalation

CAIRO: The Arab League on Tuesday warned against military escalation in Libya and said it would ask the United Nations’ chief and other key countries to work to prevent any foreign interference in the North African nation’s affairs. The league, in an extraordinary session called by Egypt, voiced its “great concern” over the situation in Libya, which it said threatens the security of neighboring countries. In a statement, it also condemned any foreign intervention that facilitates the flow of “terrorists” there. The statement didn’t mention Turkey by name, but its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is seeking a one-year mandate from parliament to send troops to Libya in support of the United Nations-recognized government of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. The Libyan premier is locked in a battle with eastern-based rebel commander Khalifa Haftar. Al-Sarraj is seeking Turkish support to protect the capital, Tripoli. Turkey’s potential entrance into an arena already cluttered with a variety of militias, mercenary forces and rebels, threatens to deepen a growing proxy war between regional powers, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has repeatedly said that foreign intervention in Libya threatens to deepen a conflict that has national security implications for his country. The Arab League announced on Monday that an emergency meeting will be held on Tuesday to discuss the situation in the war-torn Libya. In a statement, the organization said that Egypt had called for the meeting, as Turkish President RecepTayyipErdogan announced on Thursday that his country would send troops to Libya at the request of the UN-backed Libyan government as soon as next month. Libya has been locked in a civil war, splitting power between two rival governments: the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in capital Tripoli and another in the northeastern city of Tobruk which is allied with the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Khalifa Haftar.