Calm has prevailed in the Libyan capital on Friday after it witnessed the military mobilisation of supporters of the Prime Minister designated by Parliament in Tobruk Fathi Bashagha and the head of the Government of National Unity (GNU) Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh.
Some Tripoli residents told Anadolu Agency that the roads were closed on Thursday evening by groups supporting Bashagha and others supporting Dbeibeh. The residents said that all the armed convoys returned to their barracks after being deployed in areas of the city last night.
After news circulated on Thursday evening that Bashagha would enter the capital to carry out his duties, large military movements took place by armed convoys supporting Bashagha and armed brigades headed from Misurata towards the capital to support him.
However, armed brigades loyal to Dbeibeh mobilised to prevent Bashagha from entering the government headquarters, in light of the issuance of the first circular to the security forces a week ago, to aggressively deal with any attempt to storm the headquarters.
In Libya, fears are rising that it will slide back into political division or civil war after the Dbeibeh government refused to hand over power except to a government resulting from popular elections.
Following these developments, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSML) and the US called on the Libyan parties to settle down and exercise restraint.
The UN mission shared in a statement on Thursday evening: "UNSMIL is closely following up with concern reports about the mobilisation of forces and movement of large convoys of armed groups that have increased tensions in and around Tripoli."
In a tweet, UN Chancellor Stephanie Williams urged: "I urge restraint and the need to abstain from provocative actions, in word and deed, including the mobilisation of forces."
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In turn, US Ambassador to Tripoli Richard Norland tweeted: "We fully support UNSMIL's message and urge both sides to seize the opportunity to pursue a political solution rather than risk escalation."
Bashagha issued a statement late on Thursday declaring that there would be no escalation in response to international and regional demands not to drag Tripoli into violence.
Bashagha announced: "The convoy that headed to the capital Tripoli today was a security force, not a war-seeking force."
He added: "Despite the difficult situation, they have opted for bloodshed, not using weapons, and returning to their former headquarters, provided that the 'expired government' (referring to the Dbeibeh government) should stop any measures related to closing the airspace or any obstacles that violate the law."
Bashagha considered this decision as a response to the demands of his international and regional friends and according to the desires of many national figures.
Subsequently, Norland announced in two separate tweets on the US Embassy's Twitter account the "readiness" of Bashagha and Dbeibeh to negotiate a political solution to the country's crisis.
He added: "In communication with GNU Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh tonight, I appreciated his commitment to protect lives as well as his readiness to engage in negotiations to find a political solution."
READ: Libya: Washington urges Dbeibeh, Bashagha to calm situation
Norland also tweeted: "I spoke tonight with HoR-designated PM Fathi Bashagha and commended him on his willingness to deescalate tensions today and seek to resolve the current political disagreement through negotiations, not force."
Libya witnessed a political breakthrough on 16 March, 2021, when an elected transitional authority comprising a unity government and a presidential council assumed its duties to lead the country to elections. However, it was not possible to hold them last December as tensions were renewed in the country due to political differences between Libyan parties.
Tensions increased in the country following the Tobruk parliament's appointment of Bashagha as prime minister in place of Dbeibeh's government, which the latter rejects, due to the fact that the Political Dialogue Forum (sponsored by the UN) set the term of the transitional executive authority at 18 months, extending it to 24 June.