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UN-Backed Tripoli Government Halts Peace Talks After Attacks On Key Port

The Russia-backed Libyan National Army (LNA) has been trying to take Tripoli for nearly a year. (file photo)

Libya's internationally recognized government said on February 18 that it has suspended talks hosted by the UN to end the conflict over Tripoli after forces based in the east shelled the capital city's port.

"Today, violations of the cease-fire were renewed," the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said in a statement. "The militias hit Tripoli's port which is considered a lifeline for many of Libya's cities."

The GNA added it that it was "suspending our participation in the military talks held in Geneva until strict stances are taken towards the aggressor and its violations."

The UN has been hosting cease-fire talks between officials from the UN-backed government in Tripoli and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), whose declared goal is to take the capital and has been trying to do so for nearly a year.

The North African country has been torn by violence since longtime ruler Muammar Qaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

A cease-fire has been called between the warring sides, with Turkey supporting the government in Tripoli, and Russia backing the LNA and its leader, General Khalifa Haftar.

Turkey and Russia have both been criticized by UN and Western officials who say their efforts to arm their allies have led to an intensification of the violence.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council endorsed a 55-point road map for ending the war in Libya and condemned the recent increase in violence in the oil-rich North African country.

Based on reporting by dpa and Reuters