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Peace talks only after ‘Tripoli is captured,’ head of east Libya parliament says

Peace talks only after ‘Tripoli is captured,’ head of east Libya parliament says

The head of a parliament aligned with forces trying to seize the Libyan capital Tripoli said on Thursday there could be no peace talks until they had captured the city, Reuters reports.

Forces led by Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli in early April. The assault has stalled in the face of resistance from local armed groups aligned with the UN-recognized government in Tripoli.

Haftar and his backers say they are trying to free the capital from militias, which they blame for destabilizing Libya.

Aguila Saleh, head of a parliament that relocated to eastern Libya in 2014 during a previous battle for Tripoli, said “these armed groups are using people and buildings as shields.” Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) was refraining from using heavy weapons to limit damage to property, Saleh added.