UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterich said Thursday he was concerned about the “threat of confrontation” after troops loyal to the strongman in eastern Libya moved to the west of the country.
“He expressed his deep concern about the military moves and the threat of confrontations in Libya,” Guterich said in a tweet on the second day of his visit to the country.
“I call for calm and restraint as I prepare to meet the Libyan leaders in the country,” he said.
“There is no military solution, only dialogue between the Libyans can solve the Libyan problems.”
The Libyan National Army, headed by Marshal Khalifa Hafter, announced on Wednesday evening that it was preparing to move to western Libya, including the capital Tripoli, to “clear it of terrorists and mercenaries.”
The announcement was accompanied by movements of Hafter forces confirmed by military sources.
A convoy of military vehicles arrived at dawn Thursday south of the town of Gharian, 120 km (60 miles) southwest of Tripoli, where the Libyan National Army was supported by a prominent armed group.
These moves will strain the situation in the Libyan west where cities and armed groups are divided between supporters of the Libyan National Army and others opposed to it.
In Tripoli, Fayez al-Sarraj, the head of the national reconciliation government, condemned the “escalation” and expressed his regret over “provocative statements and statements.”
In his statement, Al-Serraj addressed his opponents, without naming them, by saying “stop the language of threat and intimidation and control the language of reason and wisdom.”
Al-Sarraj said that this “systematic escalation comes a few days before the holding of the National Collective Forum” to be held under the auspices of the United Nations on 14, 15 and 16 April in order to prepare a “road map” to get the country out of the chaos that prevails.
The authority in Libya is divided by two powers: the National Reconciliation Government headed by Fayez Sarraj, formed at the end of 2015 under a UN-sponsored agreement based in Tripoli, and authorities in the Libyan east backed by the Libyan National Army led by Marshal Khalifa Hafter.