Italy and Tunisia are urging the rival parliaments in Libya to reconcile and quickly reach a political agreement as the country's security situation quickly deteriorates, with competing militias, Islamist factions and tribal groups continuing to battle for control.
Leaders from Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler, and neighboring Tunisia issued a joint call for peace Wednesday after a meeting in Tunis. "Today we agreed ... that the solution of the conflict should not be military; it is necessary that the solution is a political one," Tunisian Foreign Minister Taieb Baccouche told reporters after meeting with his Italian counterpart, Paolo Gentiloni, Agence France-Presse reported.
"Military solutions will not solve problems. They complicate them further and lead to mass migration," Baccouche said.
Italy's prime minister, Matteo Renzi, said Tuesday that a United Nations peacekeeping operation in Libya wasn't on the agenda, saying the conditions hadn't yet been met, the Associated Press reported. He called on the international community to double down on diplomatic efforts to quell the violence roaring throughout Libya.
The country was plunged into chaos after the overthrow of leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. It is now being governed by two rival groups: the internationally recognized parliament, based in the eastern port city of Tobruk, and the Islamist-dominated General National Congress, which is based in Tripoli.
The U.N. invited both sides to peace talks in Morocco last week, but the Tobruk chamber pulled out on Monday, citing a Feb. 20 suicide bombing for its decision, BBC News reported. The rival government did not condemn the attack by the extremist group known as the Islamic State, which killed 40 people in the city of Al Qubbah.
At the Wednesday meeting, Italy's Gentiloni said dialogue was Libya's only hope.
"Italy is committed to support by any means the commitment of the U.N. envoy" and to "put the Libyan issue top of the global agenda," AFP reported.