Guterres to meet eastern Libya commander in Benghazi

Guterres to meet eastern Libya commander in Benghazi

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was due to meet eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar in Benghazi today in a bid to avert renewed civil war as his forces advanced on Tripoli to challenge the internationally recognised government.

He will also go to Tobruk, another eastern city, to meet lawmakers of the House of Representatives, which is also allied to Haftar.

"My aim remains the same: avoid a military confrontation. I reiterate that there is no military solution for the Libyan crisis, only a political one," Guterres said on Twitter.

LNA forces on Thursday took Gharyan, about 80 km south of Tripoli after skirmishes with forces allied to Tripoli-based Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj. But they failed to take a checkpoint about 30 km west of the capital in a bid to close the coastal road to Tunisia. An LNA-allied militia withdrew overnight from so-called Gate 27, leaving it abandoned in the morning, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile militias allied to the U.N.-backed Tripoli government moved more machinegun-mounted pickups from the coastal city of Misrata to Tripoli to defend it against Haftar's forces.