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Italy renews appeal for Libyan truce, peace talks (Lead)

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Rome, May 16 (IANS/AKI) There must be a ceasefire in the deadly battle for Tripoli and a return to dialogue to prevent a “humanitarian crisis” in Libya and to safeguard its people, Italy’s Premier Giuseppe Conte said in a statement on Thursday after meeting eastern Libyan warlord Khalifa Haftar here.

In his talks with Haftar, Conte “reiterated the need to reach a truce as soon as possible to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Libya and to protect its people who face difficult conditions,” said the statement.

Conte told Haftar that “Libya can only achieve stability through an inclusive political process,” it underlined.

Conte has also had “numerous” meetings with other Libyan players, with its main parters and with the United Nations as part of diplomatic efforts to stop “the worrying deterioration” of the situation in Libya, the statement said.

A military escalation in Tripoli began when Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army launched an assault on the capital on April 5 that met with resistance from forces loyal to the beleaguered UN-backed government.

The warfare, including airstrikes and shelling, has killed at least 454 people, injured at least 2,154 and displaced some 60,000, the UN said in its most recent update six days ago.

Some 3,000 migrants are trapped in dire conditions in detention centres in Tripoli, close to the fighting, according to the UN.



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