Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash attends a meeting of the Arab League Foreign Ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on March 6, 2019. / AFP / Khaled DESOUKI Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Extremist militias continue to control the Libyan capital Tripoli and derail search for peace in the conflict-plagued country, Emirai Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Thursday amid clashes between rival forces near the city.

A month ago, General Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the Libyan National Army, unleashed a massive campaign to capture Tripoli ruled by a weak UN-backed government and supported by several armed militias.

Haftar depicted the offensive as part of his anti-terrorism campaign, which has drawn backing from several countries, including Russia, France and Egypt.

“Priority in Libya to counter extremism/terrorism & support stability in long drawn out crisis,” Gargash said in a tweet.

The Emirati official blamed radical militias for obstructing an agreement reached in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi in February between Haftar and head of the Tripoli-based government Fayez Al Serraj on the necessity of holding long-delayed elections in Libya as part of a UN-brokered peace process.

“Abu Dhabi agreement offered opportunity to support UN led process. Meanwhile extremist militias continue to control Capital & derail search for political solution,” Gargash said.

Libya has descended into anarchy since a 2011 armed revolt that toppled longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.