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Tension rises in divided Libya

The head of Libya’s internationally recognized government Tuesday called for a renewal of U.N.-brokered talks to end divisions in the oil-rich country, amid escalating military clashes and increasing tensions between the main players in the capital Tripoli.

Libya has been in turmoil since 2011, when a civil war toppled long-time dictator Moammar Gadhafi, who was later killed.

Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj on Tuesday urged political forces to quickly resume U.N.-brokered talks to reach a comprehensive road map toward elections.

He said the road map could include amending a landmark U.N.-brokered agreement to unite the country in 2015 and appoint a new government or agree on a plan for elections in the short term.

“This call comes as state institutions are increasingly divided, and some officials in these institutions have individually made decisions that exceeded their role and their authority,” Sarraj said.

Although the Tripoli-based government was set up by the U.N. and recognized by Western countries, many of its institutions, including the Interior Ministry, are in reality staffed and controlled by unruly militias.

Fighting escalated Tuesday as Tripoli-allied militias attempted to take a military base held by Hifter forces in Tripoli. Hifter’s self-styled Libyan Arab Armed Forces said they repelled the attack.